Having equalled their season long winning streak of 1 last week, Coeur came into this game shorn of 15 (fifteen) players (as you would see it on the old Grandstand videprinter). John Barlow (AWOL), Andy Rannard (unavailable), Dave Looby (inj-shoulder), Peter Gibbons (inj-foot), Rob Hatton (inj-knee),Alan Hulthen (work), Gav Scott, Mally Harper, Neil Shelley (all in Australia), Ged Grego (inj-metatarsal), Wes Grego, John Doyle, Andy Moran (all unavailable) Chris Speed (unreliable) and even new signing Damien Mooney (work) were all unable to play against Hope Park.
Therefore the likely lads were John Grego, Craig Burns, Mike Smith, Andy Blackburn, Derrick Burns, Kenni Jackson, John Baxendale, Chris Trow along with new signings Mike Draper and Diarmuid Brankin
with Rob Philiskirk returning from Oz (not specifically for this game mind you) to make up the eleven.
Loz Halpin was secured from the Vets to act as the twelveth man.
Despite the deplenised squad Coeur started the game as they had left off last week, scoring goals. I say Coeur, in reality it was a hapless defender from Hope Park who put Coeur 1-0 up inside 2 minutes. Coeur threatened early and it caused panic in the Hope Park defence as the keeper, belatedley, came for the ball. The defender at this point had recovered enough to remove the immeadiate danger. Chris Trow continued to apply the pressure and the defender opted to play it square
across his 6 yard box. Fortunately for Coeur the defenders grasp of geometry failed him. Rather than a square pass he produced an obtuse one, right into the bottom corner of his own net. Initially Coeur
were unsure of the balls destination, but right on cue, the Hope Park defender uttered the immortal
line "Oh Sh*t" and Coeur's celebrations could begin. Coeur continued to dominate the first half but it wasn't until 10 minutes from the break that Chris Trow (again!!!) doubled Coeur's lead. A long throw in flicked off a defenders head and Chris was there to thrash it into the net on the half volley. With a two goal lead Coeur were denied the opportunity to wrap the game up as the referee inexplicably ruled Chris Trow offside despite the fact that he was 2 yards inside his own half AND that the ref was only a matter of feet away from Chris as he made the decision. This was a blow for Coeur as Chris was clean through and closing in fast on goal.
Half Time 2 - 0
The second half saw Coeur kicking into the infamous Buckley Hill wind, that had moved up a few notches on the Beaufort Scale during the half time interval. During the first half, John Grego's largest problems were avoiding hypothermia as the Hope Park forward line had yet to trouble him. Just minutes into the second half though he had been beaten twice. Firstly saw a long punt drop behind the defence and Mike Smith shield the ball from the attacker as it rolled back towards John. John chose to welly the ball clear rather than step back into his area and pick the ball up. The ball struck the Rob Phil's bronzed back (courtesy of the Antipodean sun) and dropped between Mully and a forward. The forward nicked it away from Mully and fed in another forward who drilled it past John. Minutes later they were level as a corner wasn't collected cleanly and the ball dropped and ended up in the Coeur net.
Both sides toiled during the remainder of the second half and Mike Smith, Mike Draper and Chris Trow were all struggling with knocks. Diarmuid was getting through some miles in the centre of midfield and on 3 or 4 occasions he Gaelic football roots shone through as his overexuberance caused him to commit clumsy fouls. Loz was introduced inside the final 10 minutes for Diarmuid to try and create something for Coeur but each time Coeur got in a threatening position the shot was either blocked or found the arms of the keeper. In fact at the death John Grego made a sharp save at his near post and then was alert enough to claw away the resulting corner which was swirling in the strong wind.
Dissapointing after last week and the first half not to come away with the victory, but that is now 2 games unbeaten in a row. Next week Coeur look to extend their run with a match against title contenders Naylorsfield.
Full Time 2 - 2