Another trip down Queens Drive for Coeur (the second of at least seven!) as they travelled to face Wavertree West Derby Old Boys. Again Coeur were unsure as to the quality of the opposition as Wavertree had won 3 out of their 5 games so far this season. Their two defeats had come at the hands of high flying Old Xavs and Old Cats. However in their return match with Old Cats, they had inflicted Cats first defeat on them. Based on the results thus far, it was fair to say that Wavertree would probably finish nearer the top than the bottom of the league.
Arriving at the ground Si was faced with two dilemmas, firstly whether or not to risk Matty who has been a rock at centre half over the past few weeks, as he was carrying a knock, and secondly whether or not to send out for the ropes and crampons as Coeur were to be playing on a pitch were both the goals were at vastly different altitudes.
Selection decided, saw a few dissapointed but understanding lads. The attitude from the squad is spot on as the lads who miss out are rightly gutted, but they are still keen and very supportive and looking to force their way into the starting line up. Mully started in goal, with the defence being shuffled around to account for the absence of Jacko, Lynchy and Matty. Mike Robertson was right back, with Peter Riley getting the nod on the left. Rob Phil moved into the centre where Rob Hatton was asked to play despite his recent goal scoring exploits. In front of them where Jack Riley, Ian, and Darren, with Mick Taylor and Degsi flanking Ste Alty who was starting his first game of the season for the thirds, after scoring on both his substitute appearances.
Rob Phil won the toss and Coeur elected to climb the hill first half, turning Wavertree around, which seemed to disappoint them. The game started brightly and Wavertree were looking to get the ball out to their Ginger Winger at every opportunity. Unfortunately for Wavertree, Mike decided to place the winger in his arse pocket and not allow him out until after the game. The first ten minutes were a bit back and forward, but the quality football was being played by Coeur. The midfield battle was being dominated by the diminutive figure of Jack Riley. Everytime Wavertree threatened to break he was in there in a shot, breaking up play and starting quick and decisive attacks. Several times Coeur got in and around the Wavertree box, with their keeper making a couple of decent saves and Coeur sometimes overplaying it and electing to pass rather than get the shot off.
After 20 minutes Coeur eventually broke the deadlock. Jack nipped in and stole the ball feeding Darren who darted forward sliding a fantastic ball between two defenders for Degsi. Degs took a touch and fired off a fierce shot which the keeper did well to block.Mick Taylorwas alert though and was first to the rebound, nodding in from point blank range.
Within minutes Coeur should have doubled their lead as a great move down the left saw the ball lifted across to Ian Jones, but sadly he continued his role of 'sitter-misser supreme' firing high and wide when the goal was at his mercy. A let off for Wavertree, but it was hardly the end of the Coeur tidal wave. Jack Riley was next to have a go as he produced a lovely pirouhette in the middle of the park, burst past two more lunging challenges, before firing just over the top of the bar from 20 yards.
A second Coeur goal was on the cards and it came 5 minutes before the break. Degsi had wondered to the centre of the park and two midfielders came in to clatter him. He skilfully evaded them as they crashed into each other, then he dinked the ball over the pair of them and slid in Mick Taylor who fired it across the box toSte Altywho smuggled it inside the post from just a yard out.
The third for Coeur followed 2 minutes later asMick Taylor tricked his was past the full back before firing it low and hard. The keeper got down but couldnt get a strong enough hand on the ball to keep it out. So in a matter of minutes Coeur had managed to create the kind of gap between the two sides that the first half performances meritted.
Wavertree W.D.O.B. 0 Sacre Coeur 3
The half time team talk was congratulatory, but also demanding more. Coeur were asked to go out there and display some ruthlesness. Despite the team talk and the desire to kill the game off, Coeur somehow let their foot of the gas a little and Wavertree came into the game a little more. Coeur were still comfortable at the back thanks to solid performances from Mick, Peter and the two Robs.
With 10 minutes of the second half gone, the ball was floated up and Rob Hatton chested it down before clearing. The ref though, thought differently handing Wavertree a free kick near the edge of the box. Rob Hatton, in his disbelief then said to the ref, "Tell you what ref, if you think it was hand ball then it should be pen as I was in the box". Now we're not quite sure what was going through Rob's mind at this point, but thankfully the ref managed to ignore Rob's little snippet of wisdom and stuck with the original decision of a free kick.
Coeur lined up the wall and the ball was struck the left od the wall, where it bobbles and evaded 4 or 5 men, before dribbling into the bottom left hand corner of the net. A terrible goal to give away, irrespective of the validity of the free kick in the first place.
Wavertree buoyed by this, continued to push men forward, but Coeur were still comfortable at the back. Just after the hour, Jack Kelly was introduced in place of Ian Jones and he interjected himself into the play immeadiately. Some decent passing between Degsi and Darren, saw the latter chip a ball into the path of Jack. He lifted the ball over the keeper and was ready to wheel away in celebration, but the crossbar denied him his moment of glory.Further changes were made, with Ste Ally replacing Peter at left back and Aidy coming on in place of the hungover Darren.
Coeur were now fully back in control of the game and both Mick Taylor and Degsi saw shots well saved. Ste Alty also evaded a couple of tackle and got to the byline, cutting the ball back for a simple tap in, unfortunately for Coeur, nobody was there to apply the finishing touch. The fourth followed on 75 minutes when Mick Taylor took a thrown in into the Wavertree box. The ball flicked off the head of a defender tothe far post, whereSte Altymade no mistake in nodding it home from 4 yards out.
It didn't take long for Coeur to make it five as Jack Kelly threaded a lovely ball through into the path of Alty, who meandered past the portly defender and struck it hard and low. The keeper got a block on it butSte Altytucked it home from a tight angle to seal the win. It could have been more for Coeur as Rob Hatton went on a mazy run from centre half, passing 6 or 7 men before Mick Taylor got in the way just as Rob was about to apply the hammer. Aidy almost made it six when he got up well to meet a left wing cross, but was denied by a decent save from the keeper in the bottom right corner of the goal. Aidy also missed a second opportunity to get on the scoresheet when he blazed wide with his left foot, after being fed into the inside left channel
The match drew to a conclusion and Coeur had won comfortably, even though the football was played on one of the worst pitches seen. Another good performance and importantly another good win that will keep Old Xavs honest at the top of the table.
Wavertree W.D.O.B. 1 Sacre Coeur 5