A buoyant Sacre Coeur side took the field on the back of two excellent results, most notably, last weeks extra time victory over first division side Business School , determined to push forward in the quest for the division three title. Two players from last weeks victory were unavailable, midfielder playmaker Darren Carr out injured, and Mike Smith who opted to gain an authentic tan in Gambia rather than the sunbeds of Crosby on which Mally Harper has recently been abusing to gain his Tango glow.
Fortunately Coeur are a versatile side and were able to shuffle their pack to produce a display suited to that of a table topping side. Paul Carr stepped up from the bench following his spectacular return after injury last week, with a hat-trick vs Business School and Alan Hulthen moved from the centre out to the right to fill the void left by sunseeking Mike Smith. Degsy was moved back from his position up front and allowed to revel in the role normally filled by Darren Carr.
Earlier in the season Oaks had visited Buckley Hill and been on the wrong end of a 4 -1 hiding, then somehow the following week produced a victory (and at least 5 new players) in the Connerty Cup. Hell bent on dealing out some revenge for the cup defeat Coeur started very brightly with some incisive passing which forced Oaks onto the back foot. There was little surprise that Coeur took the lead after 5 minutes when Paul Carr smashed home his 21 st goal of the season from 12 yards after Oaks had failed to deal with a corner.
This settled Coeur and the football then became more relaxed, however this attitude was taken to the extreme when Oaks floated in an innocuous free kick straight to keeper Si Furlong, who was so relaxed he forgot how to catch and promptly palmed the ball down to the waiting Oaks forward to knock in from 5 yards.
“For f*cks sake Si” was the cry from Andy Rannard, and to be honest it was hardly the severity of rebuke that should have been dished out.
Fortunately for Si the Oaks defence was just as generous. Despite the keeper making several smart stops, Coeur again took the lead and again it was from corner. Craig Burns whipped in another corner from the left and of alll people Neil Shelley popped up near post to head home a-la Tommy Smith in 1977. Coeur continued to dominate and when Oaks pumped it long for their pacy forward, Michael Carr added to his ever expanding pocket collection of opposition forwards.
Coeur's third goal was the one that killed off any Oaks resilience, Craig Burns lofting home sweetly over the keeper from just outside the Oaks box. A further two goals where added before the half in similar circumstances to the 1st goal, Degsy smashing home his first from about 12 yards, then Neil Shelley following suit.
The second half was more of a scrappy display by Coeur, without the fluency of the first 45 minutes. Andy Blackburn was introduced for Rob Philiskirk on the left, and Mally Harper gave Paul Carr the chance to take a breather after another goal scoring outing.
Alan Hulthen was marauding down the right as at his will and he exchanged passes with Gav Scott before delivering a beautiful deep cross to the back post. Andy Blackburn and Mally Harper both showing their desire after being introduced from the bench made concerted efforts to get into the box to apply the finish the cross deserved. Andy Blackburn called for the ball but Mally Harper failed to hear him (perhaps he has burnt his eardrums on his excessive tanning sessions??) and threw himself full length, connecting with the ball, unfortunately his header whistled a foot past the post. Andy took exception to this and was seen ready to disembowel Mally as he lay on the floor.
Degsy wrapped up the match for Coeur 10 minutes from the end, firing home from inside the box, and it was fitting that he scored the last goal as it topped of his virtuoso performance running the game from the middle of the park. Neil Shelley, having scored as many in this game as he had in the whole of his previous Coeur career was allowed to roam up front in search of his hat-trick, only to be denied late on by a tight offside decision.
An excellent performance by Coeur, specifically in the first half, was made even more important due to the fact that Coeur's closest challengers, Alsop, were playing on the next pitch and won comfortably against a Bootleians side that had only managed to turn up with 10 men. These results mean that again a win is essential next week when Old Cathinians visit Buckley Hill.
Oaks Institute 1 – 6 Sacre Coeu