Sacre Coeur 2nds sent a message out to the league that the title race is very much still on coming from behind to beat leaders Kingsford 3-2 in a thrilling affair at Buckley Hill. Goals from Sinclair and a brace from Steele ensured that Coeur go into the international break still snapping at the heels of the top spot in the division even despite the 3 point deduction imposed.
In an attempt to build on the strong performance last week Coeur saw changes to the starting 11 with newly engaged Blance back between the sticks, Chuk in at centre back, Gardener in at centre mid and Steele back up front yet it was man of the moment Clarkson who made the early impact scoring direct from a corner within the first 10 minutes. However, in the first of many bizarre decisions the referee ruled the goal out due to an invisible push on the Kingsford keeper.
The first half was played out mostly with pressure from Coeur yet too many shots where hit wide or straight at the keeper. Clarkson continued to impress with his delivery from corners with Coeur unlucky not to break the deadlock.
The robust Gardner's bad luck continued as he was carried off with an injury to his ankle which saw the introduction of Rodgers who had been due to start yet had been delayed due to rail problems.
Blance showed no signs of being distracted from his recent promotional tour of the US making a string of important saves yet he was helpless when slack defending saw Kingsford score when an unmarked man ran into the box and was left with an easy finish.
The 2nd half saw a more determined Coeur emerge who had been wronged not only by the disallowed goal but also after being denied a clear penalty after the referee failed to spot a handball in the Kingsford penalty area late in the 1st half.
Kingsford who looked ordinary managed to add to their lead with their number 15 heading home from a corner.
At the other end the SC midfield four continued to craft chances for both themselves and the front men with Cahill and Rodgers both shooting wide after good individual work. It took Sinclair to finally score picking the ball up and finishing like a man on a mission despite playing with an injured ankle.
The game continued with Coeur pressing yet to no little avail with shots being put wide by the strikers and crosses and passes from the back and the wings being over hit. McDougall and Daly made way for Morgan and Lawson who quickly settle into the rhythm of the games with Morgan contributing with neat passing and Lawson stamping his authority at the back.
Coeur saw another goal disallowed with Sinclair being wrongly deemed offside leaving fans wondering why each week their team gets at least one goal ruled out.
With the clock running down Coeur needed some inspiration and a moment of sheer skill and class and it arrived in the form of Steele's cross come shot just passed the half way line that fooled everyone including the keeper as it dipped into the back of the net. It remains to be seen if he will be punished by the FA for running off just before the goal to have a piss behind the tree.
With minutes remaining on the clock Cahill did well to clear a corner into the path of Steele who put Sinclair through past the defence were he did his trademark drop of the shoulder and saw his shot palmed wide for a corner.
With the whole ground on its feet vice-captain Meadows convinced the gaffer that McParland was needed up the field and his advice paid off when he rose highest to meet Clarkson's corner and directed it toward goal where Steele instinctively prodded the ball into the back of the net.
It didn't matter who scored the goal in the end as it was a team effort and this was reflected in the jubilation felt by the Crosby outfit. Kingsford restarted the game straight yet there was no time for a counter response as the final whistle sounded.
McParland said that this result was up there as one of the best comebacks of all time up there with Istanbul an Utd in 99 and Meadows commented that it was a real team effort "When one of us triumphs we all triumph, when one of us falls we help him back up."
Key things are that we continue to work on our first touch, take a little off our passes, get our shots on target and lastly defend first and shout for offside second.