At last, football was back on the menu after a weather induced fortnight break. The previous two Saturdays had been a washout, as title rivals Sacre Coeur and Old Xavs, had been unable to face each other due to waterlogged pitches. As is always the case something goes amiss when restarting after a break. This time it was actually two things. Firstly Jacko was unable to make it for the start of the game as he had been roped in by his missus for a photoshoot. Now this was no ordinary photoshoot, it was the pre-wedding photoshoot of his other half's sister or mate or neighbour (you get the idea). Not being one to miss out on such an illustrious occasion, Jacko opted (was told) to polish his pearly whites and smile for the camera. The second faux-pas was Si not taking notes for the match report. Hence the details below may be a bit sketchy.
With a full 16 (including the late coming Jacko) Coeur travelled to Aigburth to face Liobians at Mersey Road. On arrival the ground was locked and was only opened up about 30 minutes before kick off. Once again Si shuffled the squad. Mully started in goal with Rob Phil and Ste Ally forming an unfamiliar centre back partnership. Mick Robbo and Peter started in the full back berths. Ahead of them were Ian, Degsi and Jack Kelly, with Rob and Mick flanking Alty. This meant that Ady, Andy, Jack Riley and Matty were on the bench, with Jacko joining them after he had fulfilled his modelling dutied.
This season had actually seen Sacre Coeur and Liobians with polar opposite records. Both sides had drawn just once this year, Coeur had won all their other games, whilst Liobians had lost all theirs. With the side selected, Coeur were sent out with a few clear instructions, the first being that Rob Phil was to opt to face the strong sun in the second half rather than the first, hoping that it had dropped enough to not cause problems after the interval. The second was to treat the game exactly as if we were paying Old Xavs, and to try and play football in the correct manner, as the crowd hasd travelled a fair distance to watch this game. Predictably, Rob Phil lost the toss and Coeur kicked off facing a brutal, low, winters sun.
Within minutes of the kick off it became obvious that there was only going to be one winner in this match. Coeur were stringing a few passes together, whilst Liobians just toey-ed the ball clear whenever it came to them (yes literally). The main problems for Coeur came in the form of the ridiculous offside trap set by Dad's Army at the back. Whenever Coeur broke past the backline they just screamed for offside and the maliable referee concurred with them on each occasion. Rob Hatton became the first to suffer this injustice as he strode past the defence and slotted the ball home, only for the ref to agree with the defender with the biggest voice.
It was only a matter of time before Coeur took the lead and it was through Rob Hatton, as he struck it past an unorthadox keeper. Coeur soon found themselves two up as Degsi produced a delightful flick to divert a fierce cross into the back of the Liobians net.
Coeur continued to press and were only thwarted by the continual offside appeals. A third came through Jack Kelly as he finished neatly from 12 yards out. Rob Hatton then made it 4 from close range. Liobians had offered very little in the way of an attacking threat and didnt look like getting a shot on target let alone a goal.
8 minutes before the break Coeur made it 5 as Mick Taylor got his 8th of the season after eventually staying onside. With a comfortable lead held heading towards the break Liobians managed to score!! Another long clearance was controlled by Mike Robbo, however he managed to slip and the big number ten had an age to pick his spot as nobody closed him down. Give the man his dues, he struck the ball firmly into the bottom corner to make it 5-1.
Liobians 1 Sacre Coeur 5
The second half saw Coeur continuing to pile pressure on Liobians and dominate possession. The aging rearguard was also starting to tire, preventing them from any attempt at their offside scam. Coeur were now facing a new problem which was that Liobians had reverted to a 9-1-0 formation. Despite having the ball for extended periods of time and not being pressed at all, just the sheer number of bodies in the final third of the pitch was making it tricky.
Coeur managed to extend their lead as Ste Alty grabbed a quickfire brace, both with starring roles by the goalkeeper. His first goal came as Rob Hatton fired in a cross from the left which Ste turned goalwards from 6 yards out. The keeper made a stunning save, but he then lay motionless on the floor as Ste stepped in and dinked the ball over his prone body from 2 feet out. Alty's second and Coeur's seventh came as the keeper slid out to collect the ball, seemimgly taking it of Ste's feet. Then all of a sudden, Ste was walking goalwards and rolling it past the defender on the line and into the back of the net.
Rob Hatton then wasted three glorious opportunities to make it eight for Coeur. Balooning one wide, overhitting a simple square ball that Degsi could have rolled into the net, then firing high wide and handsome. On seeing the last effort missed, the Shepherd's crook was weilded and Rob was hooked for Ady. Pflancer and Jack Riley were also introduced in place of Jack Kelly and Mick Taylor.
More chances went begging for Coeur, Ste Alty hitting the corner of post and crossbar and Andy Pflancer twice missing when looking certain to score. Alty then opted to fire a free kick goalwards, but it came closer to hitting the moon than the back of the net. Si instantly looked to hook Ste in the same manner as Rob Hatton, but fortunately for Ste, all the subs had been used.
The game was wrapped up by Ady who controlled a pass from Degsi before firing it low into the bottom corner of the net to make it 8-1.
A decent performance from Coeur, even though the opposition were weak. This coupled with a pitch that became progressively boggier as the match wore on, and the blinding sun of the first half meant that it could be considered a job well done.
Liobians 1 Sacre Coeur 8