It shows the improvement that Coeur have made over the past 2 seasons, that being in the semi final of the Senior Shield was not a huge suprise. Coeur faced up to their fourth higher division opponent in four Senior Shield ties and set out to again prove that the difference between themselves and the best teams in the league is negligible. This time Coeur faced Naylorsfield, who currently top the second division, looking to secure their third successive league title.
Naylorsfield are likely to be in the mix for next seasons Division One title, and are certainly one of the best sides in the Old Boys league. However, after this season's display in both the league and the Senior Shield, few would be able to argue that Coeur aren't far off being one of the top sides themselves.
Conditions proved very difficult at Buckley Hill, especially in the first half as the wind howled and the rain sheeted down. Naylorsfield taking advantage of the wind, played far the better football in the first half, while Coeur were restricted to a few half-chances. It was no suprise really that Naylorsfield took the lead, as the quality of the ball being delivered at set pieces was causing Coeur problems. A corner was whipped in from teh right and it was a Naylorfield head that made contact in a crowd to steer the ball into the Coeur net.
Despite trailing 1 - 0 at half time Coeur were still in the match despite being second best by a distance in the first half. The second half saw a complete contrast in the flow of the game, with Coeur dominating both possession and territory in the second half.
Craig Burns and Paul Carr both went close with half chances, but Coeur still couldn't snatch the elusive equaliser. Two incidents involving Gav Scott occuring in the final five minutes proved beyond doubt that this wasn't going to be Coeur's day. Firstly he was poleaxed in the Naylorsfield box, yet the ref didn't appear to have the conviction to award a penalty. Then in the final throws of the game, Dave Looby bulleted a trademark header past the Naylorsfield keeper only to see it rebound off Gav Scott on the goalline.
On another day (and with another ref) Coeur could have won this and progressed to the final, yet today just wasn't to be their day. A wholehearted performance by Coeur, especially in the second half, had several Naylorsfield players commenting that it was their toughest challenge this season, but this was scant consolation as the cup dream evapourated into thin air.
Despite this loss Coeur will look to carry their recent good form into the final game of the season against Bootech where they will have the opportunity to clinch the league title. Come On Sacre Coeur!!
Sacre Coeur 0 - 1 Naylorsfield