After a bright start to the season the thirds were faced with a trip to Naylorsfield in the Senior Shield, which sees the first team from every club in the Old Boys League vying for the honours. As seems tradition in this competition, Coeur drew a side from a higher division. This time, it turned out to be the team sat at the top of division one with a 100% record in their first fives games. So on the face of it the worst possible draw that Coeur could have been handed.
Coeur also had a few absentees for the game with the talismanic Craig Burns missing and both Baxi and Pablo restricted to the bench due to pulls and niggles. Last weeks goal scoring genius had decided to limit himself to the sheepskin this week, having still to come down from his euphoric high after the 'thunderbolt' against Waterloo.
Despite the missing players and the opposition Couer were optomistic about their chances in the game.
The opening encounters showed that Coeur were certainly a handful for Naylorsfield, inside the first five minutes Mally Harper broke throught the defensive line only to be tharwted by an excellent save by the keeper who dived at his feet to deny him the opener. Minutes later Wes Grego leapt highest at a corner only to see his powerful header acrobatically saved by the keeper. For the first 15 minutes Coeur were the dominant side and only a few last gasp blocks and interventions prevented them from taking the lead.
Naylorsfield slowly started to get into the game and found themselves beginning to dictate the play in the middle of the park. The opening goal came on 20 minutes when a tidy finish left Kev with no chance. Coeur rallied though and Wes blocked a clearance from the keeper only for the ball to squirm away from him and behind for a goal kick. A threatening free kick floated into the Naylorsfield box saw a defender under pressure nod the ball just inches past his own post for a corner. The resulting corner saw Tommy Stevenson thumping a header against the bar with the keeper well beaten.
Sadly though the class of Naylorsfield started to show and poor marking and tracking back allowed them the opportunity to slot home the second. It looked as if it was all going to be over at half time when Kev was exposed and managed to clip the forward at the edge of the box. A penalty was awarded without any complaints from Coeur. Kev took his place between the sticks and flung himself low to his left to deny the forward with a great save.
Naylorsfield 2 - 0 Sacre Coeur
The second half was a different affair with Coeur offering very little in the way of offense for the first 20 minutes.
Naylorsfield effectively wrapped the game up with 30 minutes to go when Tommy Stevenson was left with 3 onrushing forwards at a free kick. Predictably one nodded the ball home to make it 3 - 0.
A fourth was added with a fine finish from 15 yards, the fifth minutes from time by their outstanding number 7.
Tommy Stevo hit the woodwork again between the 4th and 5th goals, but sadly Coeur were unable to grab a goal which their overall performance had meritted.
The match provided Coeur with food for thought as some of the younger players struggled against an excellent and experienced Naylorsfield side. Unbelievably Coeur have drawn Naylorsfield in the first round of the County Cup as well. Lets prey for a better performance in a fortnight's time. Firstly though the Quarry Bank have to be faced in the league.
Naylorsfield 5 - 0 Sacre Coeur