Where to start on this weekend's debacle? Well with the derby being played at 12:45, there was always going to be scope for a few absentees. An arrangement was made to allow us to watch the whole of the match in Mossley Hill's club then get changed and start the game. The thought behind this was to minimise the cry-offs by allowing the lads to watch the derby then play in our game immeadiately afterwards. Definitely missing for Coeur this week were Rob Philiskirk (ankle), Neil Shelley (knee), Mike Smith (knee), Gav Scott (foot), Phil O'Connor (shoulder), Peter Gibbons (at the match), Kenni Jackson (Amsterdam) and Alan Hulthen (awaiting a delivery for his new flat). Furthermore come Saturday morning's attempts to finalise travel details, further withdrawals from the squad were encountered. Chris Trow was baby sitting, Luke Miles was semi comatose and couldn't be awoken and some bloke sounding very similar to Craig Burns informed us 'He's gone out yer know'. So from a potentially strong squad, Coeur were left with an extremely threadbare XI, which included Degsy and Baxi who decided to leave Goodison early to ensure they could play.
Coeur arrived at Mossley Hill at 12:30 in time for the start of the Derby, acknowledged the opposition and proceded to watch the match. Once the match finished Coeur were entering the changing rooms (at 2:36) only to be told by a member of the opposition team, what are you lot playing at its a 2:30 kick off. After an explanation of the agreed arrangements, which the lad from Mossley Hill denied were ever made, Mr Mossley Hill told us the ref was 'going spare'. Coeur got changed quickly and made their way out to the pitch. Si spoke to the ref to explain the situation and was met with 'It doesn't matter now lad, you'll have to pay the fine and get on with it'.
So as the ref called the opposition players (by their first names, naturally) to start, Coeur lined up fully expecting a difficult time from the ref, and so it proved. Two minutes in John Grego slid in brilliantly on the edge of the box to disposses the forward, who hurdled the challenge and then was unable to keep his feet in the box. Great tackle, great attitude from Coeur, great start to the game. Or so you would think. Not so Mr M. Jones who, to the disbelief of all 22 player on the pitch, awarded a penalty. Up stepped the forward who struck a penalty down the middle of the goal, only for Si to reach back a little to keep the ball out. Minutes later a seemingly offside player was left unmarked 8 yards out to head past Si in goal and give his side the lead.
15 minutes into the game Coeur were down to 10 men as Doyle had to leave the pitch as he felt feint and his legs had started to go. The ref came over and told him, really I should book you for leaving the pitch without my permission but i'll let you off this time. Coeur continued valiantly but injuries to both Mally Harper and Wes Grego left them effectively, playing with only 8 men. Still Coeur went close a couple of times but couldn't break the deadlock. The game was still finely balanced at this stage despite Coeur's numerical and physical deficiencies. Unfortunately a howler by Baxi, who unsuccesfully tried to shephard the ball out for a goal kick, saw Mossley Hill double their lead after the initial shot had rebounded of the post to a forward to roll into the empty net.
Half Time 0 - 2
The second half was better and worse for Coeur, better in the attacking sense as they created several chances to score, yet far worse defensively as they left too many gaps at the back for Mossley Hill to exploit. The third goal came just 5 minutes into the second half as a good cross from Coeur's left was volleyed home of the centre forward's shin. This strike all but finished the game off.
Coeur pushed forward and created 6 or 7 chances which they were unable to take. Andy Blackburn could have had a hat trick on another day, but was denied by a sublime save from the keeper, and also saw two or three other chances blocked by defenders. Degsy and Draper also had good chances, but on a day like this they were never destined to go in.
Mossley Hill added a fourth after the winger's shot was saved by Si, only for the ball to drop into the path of an onrushing midfieder who stroked it into an empty net. With minutes to go Baxi cleaned out a forward as he drove into the box and a second penalty was awarded, though there were no grounds for complaint this time. As Si stood between the sticks like a 6'2" 16½ stone Jaffa Orange, a different player placed the ball on the spot. He two was unable to find the back of the net as his penalty struck the top of the crossbar.
An awful day from start to finish for Coeur. Time to put this one to bed and get on with the rest of the season, starting next week, when the thirds face Monk Sports, in their first ever LCFA cup tie.
Full Time 0 - 4