This cup tie was always going to prove tricky for Coeur, but managing to field a team was something they had hoped to negotiate unscathed. Sadly this wasn't to be. With 7 regulars from the 2nd team unavailable for selection, stand in gaffer Bones was grateful that the fixture computer (or bloke as is more likely the case) had handed the third team a free weekend. So with the side made up of a near 50-50 split between 2nd and 3rd teamers, Coeur strode out to face third placed NELTC. Coeur didn't have to wait long to see if the third teamers could cut it at this level, as 6 minutes in, Whelan fed Chris Trow the ball leaving him 40 yards from goal and facing just a solitary defender. Chris turned the lad inside out a couple of times before strding past him and firing at the keeper. Chris was gutted that his weak shot had not matched the scintilating run theat had preceded it. Despair turned to glee as the hapless NELTC keeper allowed the ball to squirm between his legs and into the net. Coeur continued to have to upper hand throughout the first half, though John made two decent saves from free kicks as Whelan demonstrated a 'Paul Scholes tackling masterclass' around the edge of Coeur's box, to present the chances.
Degsy and Chris were creating problems for the defence of NELTC and it was the former who produced a sumptuous turn on the edge of the box, skipping past the defence and firing his left footed attempt just wide. Coeur continued to impress and had a sustained period of pressure in and around the NELTC box without finding that elusive second goal. NELTC unable to score themselves saw Dave Looby heading the ball against Coeur's post (rather than concede a corner I assume). With the hlaf drawing to a close Whelan toe poked a ball through to Degsy on the right edge of the box, who took a second before drilling his shot just inches the wrong side of the post.
Half time 1 - 0
So with a commanding grip on the game Coeur came out for the second half and had an excellent chance to wrap the game up. Whelan was found in the box by an excellent ball by Degsy, only for him to hesistate rather than smashing it home as it sat up nicely for him. The chance was spurned as the opposition line mocked him and called him Peter Crouch as he struggled to sort out his feet and instead did a passable impression of a baby giraffe on an ice rink. Predicatably Couer then proceeded to let NELTC back into the game. When I say 'let them' I actually mean 'drag them' as Dave Looby managed to prod the ball past John into his own net, whilst under sever pressure from the forward. So the game was level and it was general concensus that whoever scored the next goal would go on and win the game. Robbie Malone scored the next goal, the third by a Coeur player, tragically, that too was in the Coeur net, as he met the corner with a thumping header that gave John no chance. With the game delicately poised and Coeur seemingly having used up all their bad luck both sides pressed for the decisive goal without any real effect. A scramble outside the Coeur box saw the ball knocked into space ahead of Whelan who burst out of the crowd before being synically body checked by a covering NELTC player. Both players hit the deck and the ref somehow through a crowd of players awarded a free kick TO NELTC !!!!! Talk about a travesty. Had Whelan evaded the all out assault on him, Coeur would have had a 3 on 1 situation and s glorious chance to equalise. Instead the referee placed the ball 30 yards from Coeur's goal even though the incident had taken place some 10 yards nearer the halway line. Some parrot headed bloke with his socks pulled over his knees strode up to the ball and spanked it into the top corner with unbelievable pace and accuracy. Great goal but horrifically unjust. Coeur rallied and managed to pull a goal back as a long throw was nodded on by Whelan and Looby snook in to plant his header home in the right net this time. A concerted effort was made to equalise and the keeper made an excellent save from Chris Trow who somehow managed to get his shot away despite the presence of several NELTC defenders. The whistle went and so did Coeur's Intermediate Cup hopes for the season. A spirited effort considering half the squad was the third team and Coeur had performed two excellent imitations of Sami Hyypia. Coeur had managed a full compliment of 14 players, yet Lady Luck had been penned in on the NELTC teamsheet today, when Coeur could have done with a share of her.
Full Time 2 - 3