"would you swap our changies for this pitch?"
After 16 seasons of management, there are not many grounds across the region that Si hasn't visited. However, Pimbley playing fields in Maghull was a new one for him this week. Tucked away in the South East corner of Maghull, between the railway line and the Leeds-Liverpool canal, was a suprisingly pleasant little setup. As the players strode across the pitch, it was great to see a flat, decent sized pitch for the team to play its match on. On the far side of the pitches was a little wooden changing rooms with Degsi and few of the other lads outside. Degs had a look of distress on his face and when questioned he told the lads it was due to the state of the bogs, and his need for a pre-match weigh in. The bogs were a disgrace, like the ones out of Trainspotting. Surely only the most hardened of SAS operatives or moral-less former Coeur player Paul May, would have been happy to have used the grim looking khazi. So it was debated, would you swap Buckley Hill for here? A tightly bobbley pitch, with useable porcelain for a nice flat, wide pitch with pre-Victorian sewerage facilities?
The bigger dilemma for Si had been his team selection. Too many players available for the match day squad had seen Ian agreeing to play for Chris and Craig, available again after work commitments, opting out of a place on the bench or a game for one of Coeur's other sides. This saw the squad trimmed to 16. The 16 became 15 as Pflancer's whereabouts was something of a mystery. His no show at the school was unlike him and efforts to contact him were fruitless. His last known whereabouts had been documented about 4am after a series of drunken texts to Daz concluded with the phrase "Anal gravy?"
Putting the drunken obscurity to one side, Si selected his team to face Richmond. Kev started in goal again. Mick Robertson had departed on a scouting mission to Uganda for a few weeks so Ste Allison started at right back. Peter kept his place in the starting line up at left back, with Matty and Jacko at centre half. Jack Riley was selected in midfield along with Darren and Degsi, with Mick Taylor and Lynchy supporting Ste Alty up top. On the bench this week were Rob Philliskirk, Jack Kelly, Jack Hodson and Joe Hoose. With Rob residing on the bench, Darren was given the armband and he promptly won the toss and switched ends.
The game began with both sides playing some attractive football, looking to get it down and pass it about. Coeur were making the most of the pitch and looked sharp early on with some great stuff causing Richmond problems at the back. A great interception by Peter on the left started the move which led to Coeur's opening goal. The ball was stroked about and found it's way to Degsi on the left flank, Peter made a great overlap, drawing a defender away, creating the space for Degsi to whip a cross into the middle, whereSte Altyflung himself at it and headed it into the far corner of the net.
Coeur continued to have the better of the play for the remainder of the half, with both Ste Alty and Degsi firing just over the bar. Lynchy was also creating problems down the right flank with Mick giving the right back a hard time as well. The keeper produced a great save from Lynchy and was called into action again just before the break, diving full length to tip a Mick Taylor shot wide.
Richmond 0 Sacre Coeur 1
Richmond started the second half a little brighter, but the back line of Coeur stood strong and easily repelled their advances. The midfied of Coeur were well on top and Jack Riley was knitting the play together well for Coeur. Darren was dynamic and was causing problems every time that the got the ball and drove at Richmond. The third player in there was Degsi and it was another one of his incisive passes that opened Richmond up again. He threaded a ball inside the full back for the onrushing Mick Taylor. Micktook a touch and thrashed it goalwards. The keeper dived and got hand to it but it wasnt anywhere near strong enough and the ball nestled into the back of the net making it 2-0
Shortly after Coeur's second goal, Mick Taylor was swapped for Joe Hoose. Joe immeadiately got in on the action and skipped past the right back and whipped in a great cross which was scrambled away for a corner. Degsi drove the corner in, Darren got a flick on and Ste Alty manged to volley it over from just 4 yards out.
Peter was withdrawn after 70 minutes, with his asthma giving him a few problems. Rob Phil came on and instantly thought he was Roberto Carlos, bombing forward from full back whenever he got the opportunity. For the second week running a sub came on for Coeur and scored. Ste Allison whipped a ball in from the right to the near post area, where (for some reason)Rob Philwas there and he looped a header over the keeper. A despairing boot tried to clear the ball from behind the line, but to no avail as it hit the roof of the net to seal the win.
Jack Hodson replaced Lynchy on the right for the last 15 minutes as the game swayed from one end to the other. Richmond were pressing forward and forcing Coeur deeper but they were unable to penetrate the Coeur defence. It should have been 4-0 as Joe Hoose broke through the Richmond back line, drew the keeper and rolled it square, where Darren strode onto it and stroked it home. Somehow the ref decided it was offside, despite Darren being behind both the ball and Joe when it was rolled across. Richmond themselves then went close as the escaped down the right hand side and fired against the upright from a tight angle.
Another decent performance against opposition that played some decent football of their own. Good to see improvement in the side and a second clean sheet is just reward for some consistent defending.
Richmond 0 Sacre Coeur 3