This match had been earmarked as a title decider a while back and Coeur knew that it could be a tough game especially if they needed points to secure the title. Several postponements to the fixture meant that Coeur had already wrapped up the title and the game was inconsequential as far as the league standings were concerned. However you don't get to be champions without a drive and desire to win every game that you play.
Having played Bootech way back in September at the beginning of the season, Coeur found themselves on the end of a 3 – 0 defeat, although they felt that the game was a lot closer than that. Bootech were the only team Coeur had faced this season that they hadn't beaten and also the only side that they hadn't scored against. To add further incentive, as if any was needed, Bootech also lined up with several former Coeur players in their ranks, including Chris Long, Mick Lynch and Jay Porter. Other Bootech players were also well known to Coeur. This was a must win game for Coeur, yet for pride rather than points.
Both sides had the same intentions and it was obvious from the start that it was going to be a high tempo, blood and thunder affair. Coeur, as has become the norm over the past couple of years, were playing the better of the two sides and looked livelier up front with Craig Burns and Paul Carr linking well to put the Bootech defence under pressure.
It was no surprise then that Coeur took the lead through Craig Burns, he burst clear of the defence and collected a sublime pass from Paul Carr, and coolly strode clear of the defenders and stroked it into the keepers bottom right hand corner.
This concession fired Bootech up, and the game started getting a bit heated, several Coeur players were the recipient of late challenges, and yet Coeur still managed to stay focused. Bootech started pushing forward and had two chances to equalise, the first seeing Si Furlong force the forward to hurry his shot and shoot wide, the second saw him palm a close range header over the bar after the attacker had given the defence the slip from a free kick. Coeur too had a few good chances with Craig and Pablo both going close before Alan Hulthen was allowed to test the keeper from a 20 yard free kick, unfortunately he could only balloon it way over the bar.
Coeur were still on top in the game and extended their lead with a fantastic goal, yet the cameraman somehow managed to miss it. Andy Rannard killed the ball as it dropped out of the sky, did a keepy-up and then flicked it over and advancing Bootech player a-la Ronaldinho (okay a bit O.T.T. but it was the highlight of his season and he managed to do it in front of his adoring crowd (Garry Smith)). He then lofted a sublime pass over the top of the Bootech defence which Paul Carr hared onto. Pablo got their just before the keeper and lifted it over his head and into the back of the Bootech net. Unfortunately, on landing, Pablo injured himself and was forced to withdraw from the game, prompting Rob Phil's cheesy cliché of ‘Taking one for the Team' by sacrificing himself to score.
Again Bootech rallied, unfortunate to see a header come back off the bar and be expertly controlled by Si Furlong's back, onto the post so he could pick it up as it trundled along the goal line. The game again became heated, yet Bootech didn't like the fact that the ref was protecting Coeur from the thuggery. Andy Rannard also developed into a hate figure for the Bootech line as he managed to adapt to a similar method of tackling as the physical Bootech side.
Half Time 2 – 0
The second half saw Bootech make a triple substitution to try and get back into the match. They pushed forward and forced Coeur onto the back foot. The midfield of Coeur was getting through an astonishing amount of work and Mally Harper was unfortunate to find himself booked despite winning the ball. Bootech hit the bar following a scramble in the six yard box, and continued to pour scorn on the referee. What happened next prevented Bootech from any further complaints as the ref dismissed Mally Harper for a second bookable offence following alleged dissent from Harper.
Neil Shelley had arrived late from work and was being prepared to enter the action as Bootech scored. With half an hour to go and a man down, this would prove to be a difficult task for Coeur to hold onto their 2 – 1 lead. Shelley normally deployed as the midfield destroyer in a similar role to Sissoko or Makalele, suddenly found the need to play in the hole behind lone striker Craig Burns. Only afterwards did it become apparent that Shelley thought we were losing 3 – 0 at the time and not winning 2 – 1.
Coeur were defending well and Bootech pushed more and more men forward in search of the elusive equaliser.
Coeur broke down another Bootech attack and the ball was fed to Rob Philiskirk 10 yards inside his own half. Rob then delivered a glorious 40 yard pass (and there is video evidence to prove this) over the top of the Bootech defence and into the path of Craig Burns. Craig's first touch took him wide on the left of the box and gave a defender a chance to get goal side. With the crowed roaring him on Craig stood the defender up and with a quick footed trick burst past the defender along the edge of the box along slotted it home near post leaving the keeper rooted to the spot.
Coeur went mad in celebration, yet the confused Shelley was still keen to push forward, thinking it was now 3 – 1 to Bootech rather than to Coeur.
Again Bootech pushed forward and managed to pull one back. The final 15 minutes were going to seem like an eternity, yet Coeur's defence stood up strong and repelled Bootech preventing any serious efforts on goal. It is a testimony to Coeur's defence that for the second season running the have the best record in all 5 divisions of the Old Boys League, and fittingly this game demonstrated why.
The final whistle went, then Coeur celebrated as Liam Doyle presented the Division Three trophy to the 2005/06 champions SACRE COEUR!!!!!
Bootech 2 - 3 Sacre Coeur