Buckley Hill was covered in snow early this morning, and in retrospect Coeur should have left it like that rather than making a valiant effort to ensure the game was on. Snow was brushed away and the ice was broken hours before kick off, so the the match could go ahead. When the match started the pitch was far from in pristine condition, with excess water making the pitch something of a mudbath.
Old Cats having won just once previously this season took a shock lead early on curling a free kick into the top corner of the net from 25 yards, before Coeur had even got out of the blocks. Coeur battled hard to level the match and saw several efforts fired narrowly wide and well saved before Andy Blackburn struck the ball home from 10 yards. Despite this Coeur still looked shaky and poor control on a difficult pitch led to several free kicks conceded by Coeur within shooting distance.
Going into half time level at one all, Coeur had a chance to regroup and try and restore a bit of composure to their game. The first 20 minutes of the second half saw Coeur repeatedly caught offside, though half of the decisions were incorrect. When Coeur did break the line, shots continued to whistle past the upright and fall kindly to the Away side.
It appeared only a matter of time before Coeur took the lead, yet against the run of play Old Cats scored a second with a header from a corner. Coeur then took of in pursuit of an equaliser only to see Old Cats wrap the game up in dubious style. An Old Cats forward netted a third for the visitors when he was clearly offside by some 5 yards. The composure was lost by Coeur as they desparately chased the game, which then allowed Old Cats to knick a fourth near the end.
A poor performance on a day were nothing went right for Coeur. Old Cats lined up a lot stronger than in previous encounters, and while 4 - 1 flattered them, Coeur could hardly complain about defeat after such a lacklustre performance and less than clinical finishing.
On to next week and now where the Bootech game takes on even more importance. Hopefully Coeur should have Degsy back for this game and Mike Smith will have recovered from his jet lag.
Sacre Coeur 1 - 4 Old Cathinians