Too many players available and a few upset characters were the key issues prior to the match versus Roby College.
Si had the unenviable task of dishing out the bad news to those that hadn't made the cut. Most took it well though some were unable to deal with the bad news in a dignified manner. So with the selection problems dealt with, Coeur gathered at Buckley Hill to face a strong Roby College side. Sorry, when i said problems dealt with, that was the case, until 3 no shows left gaps available on the bench. Andy Blackburn, who had come up to watch, having not played since the opening game of the season, happily pulled on a Coeur shirt again, though he should have opted for one of the higher numbers, as they have a little more give in the cut of the cloth. Si was much shrewder as he pulled the number 14 shirt over his equally vast frame. The intention was to start with the same 11 that had beaten Old Bootleians the week before, but the no shows meant that Kenni Jackson and John Baxendale were drafted into the starting line up to replace the AWOL Grego brothers.
Anyway, onto the match. Last time out Coeur dealt exceptionally well at the back with the exocet like throw ins from the Roby centre half. Having Tommy Stevenson in the ranks was reassuring to Coeur, as he adds a level of dominance in the air that is unrivaled by any other Coeur player. Despite this arial presence, Roby took the lead after barely 90 seconds, when one of the aforementioned throw ins must have hit a passing thermal, as Kev was caught slightly under it and could only help it into the net. First blood to "Roby Delap". Coeur struggled to get their passing game going for a few minutes after this, but gradually grew into the game and forced Roby onto the back foot. some excellent work by Craig down the left, saw him bamboozle two defenders, before firing a vicious ball across the Roby six yard box. Sadly though the onrushing forwards were not able to connect with the ball.
Roby continued their ploy of ballistic throw ins, and despite them having several players taller than the entire Coeur side, they were unable to force Kev into action. Tommy Stevenson was dominant in the air and Baxi was assisting him ablely. More slick play from Coeur saw Rob Hatton, Kenni and Craig combining on the left before Degsi floated a sumptuous ball in behind the Roby defence. Mally hared after the ball and was not put off by the Roby keeper, who performed one of his many impersonations of Captain Caveman, as he roared and howled in an attempt to distract Coeur's attackers. Mally beat him to the ball, flicked it over him, raced round the far side and then completed the simple task of heading the ball home, much to the relief of the bench.
Further chances went begging for Coeur, but they had performed the better of the 2 sides in the first half and were confident of improving in the second half
Sacre Coeur 1, Roby College 1
The second half was a full blooded affair, with commitment a plenty from both sides. The passing was crisp and the tackles were hard, yet fair from both sides. The first 15 minutes of the half was an even affair, with both sides pressing forward, yet unable to yield a second goal. It was the visitors that took the lead for a second time from, yes you guessed it, another long throw. Tommy Stevo, missed his first header of the day, not that he was to blame, and a forward slipped away from Mike Smith, to steal in and nod home past Kev and Baxi on the line.
Coeur, again responded well. Another Mally Harper burst into the box, saw him nod the ball away from the defender, only for him to be clattered by the lad's mistimed jump. A certain penalty, you would think, but no. The ref admitted to having not seen the incident, which was strange considering the ball was within 2 foot of the collision. This misgiving was compounded minutes later as a Roby corner was brilliantly headed home. Roby looked content at this stage, seemingly as if they had won the match. It looked all over 10 minutes from time as Roby were awarded a penalty,even though the offence was clearly outside the box. Rob Hatton was beyond livid at this decision, especially as the ref had denied Coeur a cast iron penalty minutes earlier. Sadly, Rob decided to inform the ref of his opinion of him. A red card followed and Coeur were down to 10 men. The overgrown lad, height not waist, who missed a penalty in the previous fixture between the two sides, stepped up again. He attempted to fire the ball high into the Coeur net, but blazed it high over the bar. Rumours are that the ball is due to land in the next few days.
Coeur were spared on by the miss and continued to press forward. Two fantastic chances were spurned by Pablo, firstly taking too much time to get his shot off when clean through. The second chance was created by a fantastic reverse pass by Craig, but Pablo, in acres of space, managed to slice his shot badly. The pressure continued though and it paid dividends as Coeur won a penalty, in an almost identical manner to the one that was turned down. If anything, it was a little softer. Degsi stepped up and duly converted the penalty, to give Coeur a final lifeline. With just 5 minutes on the clock, both Andy and Si were introduced from the bench, to add height up front, but sadly Coeur couldn't benefit from the final, frantic minutes of pressure.
A decent performance from Coeur, and one that probably merited a point. However the preposterous throw ins did for Coeur in an otherwise decent defensive performance.
Sacre Coeur 2 Roby College 3