This season it appears as if the third team are going to suffer availability problems as several of the squad are inflicted with Blue Sh-itis (having an Everton season ticket). This week Coeur lost several players from the squad as the Everton - Man Utd game proved to be too much of a draw for the lads.
A look down the absentee list saw, Rob Phil, Gav, Mully, Baxi, Ste Burke and Kev Hennerty unavailable for one reason or another. In addition to this, Degsi has gone to the seconds and Mike Smith and Paul Price are out for lengthy periods. However the return of Tommy Stevo to the side, coupled with debuts for Lynchy and Jay Kay, meant that at least Coeur had sufficient numbers to field a side.
Bizarrely the line up consisted of a midfield quartet of Micks. By this I mean they are all called Michael and not that they hail from the Emerald Isle. Draper, Lynch, Carr and Taylor, were joined by Mally and Craig up front, while Tommy, Rob, Andy, and Jay were detailed with protecting Kev's goal. Si and Peter Price settled for a place on the bench.
Today's opposition, Ercanil, had started the campaign well, with a 4 - 1 victory the previous week. This didnt deter Coeur as they started the brighter of the two sides. Early chances were created and Mally found space and fired low towards goal. The keeper dropped to his right and made a decent save, only to better his efforts a second later when he prevent Mick Taylor from slotting the rebound. Coeur continued to press and a decent cross from the right facilitated Mally's overhead kick, which was kept out by an alert keeper. Ercanil, were struggling to get going and it came as no suprise when Coeur took the lead. The keeper, for some reason, thought he was Franco Baresi, only for his skills to come up short of his ideals. Craig managed to nick the ball of him, before cooly slotting home from 20 yards.
Ercanil responded well and managed to grab an equaliser, when a disputed free kick was expertly fired home from 25 yards. Further chances came for both sides, but at this point coeur had played the better football. Shortly before half time a brilliant move saw 8 coeur players involved, popping the ball around brilliantly, before Rob Shunter unleashed a venomous toe-ey from 25 yards, which the keeper did well to turn over the bar.
Sacre Coeur 1 Ercanil 1
The second half saw Coeur having more of the possession, but with Ercanil looking to break quickly. The big unit up front for Ercanil was proving a handful and Jay Kay and Tommy were doing well to contain him. A moment of brilliance from Ercanil's portly number 8, saw him flick the ball over a defender, a la Gazza in Euro 96, and smash a dipping volley past Kev and into the top corner of the net.
The game continued in a similar vein, with Coeur having more of the ball, but unable to break down a resolute Ercanil defence. Coeur were denied an excellent oportunity as Mally was sent clean through, only to be whistled offside. The ref had dropped a clanger as the right back was clearly 5 yards deeper than Mally, but such is life. The killer blow came soon after as the big lad up front for Ercanil, turned a defender inside out and hammered the ball home past a helpless Kev. Peter Price had a half chance to grab a goal back, but was smothered by defenders as he tried to stab the ball home.
This was a game that Coeur could have got more out of, but the lack of a cutting edge proved critical. Three brilliant strikes from Ercanil and some resolute defending, meant they went away with all the points, not underservedly, and Coeur could only rue not creating more chances.
Sacre Coeur 1 Ercanil 3