After losing by 3 goals to Aintree 2 weeks ago, Coeur entered this encounter with a degree of trepidation. Once again the Gaffer (Ian Dee) had shown his ability to recruit more than enough players with the poor Mr Flanagan (Hon Sec) drawing the short straw and sitting this one out [Ed comment - much deserved after his flagrant abuse of power in the famous 'bitch slap' incident].
The game bega nslowly with neither side managing to get a grip on things. Coeur opted for a 5 man midfield of Mike Coyle, Phil Gorton, Tony O'Brien, Les Short and Matty 'the Mouth' Davies. This unit worked well and nullified any progress for the Villa. Half way through the half John Chadwick replaced Les in the middle and was disciplined enough to ensure Villa were restricted to pretty passing but with little to show for it. Mike Roach, the lone forward, worked hard to hold the ball when it was sent forward and Coyle and Davies joined him to provide a couple of half chances. At the other end the Coeur defence was on top with non of the costly errors of the away fixture creeping in. Mark Rannard, Dave Looby and Darren 'crafty cockney' Kay worked hard under Rannard senior's direction. The rest of the half was unremarkable apart from Rannard snr receiving an elbow to the nose (that's how you hit someone Flanny!). Blood, tissues, vaseline and daft questions about 'how many fingers' over, the half meandered to an end.
The second half saw Rafa Dee change the formation against the advice of most of the team. Would this be a costly error or a Deano masterstroke? Well the answer is neither. Coeur contined to battle with Nicki Sealeaf and Phil joining Mike Roach up front whilst at tha back Rannard jnr and Darren Kay were replaced by Andy Bland and Paul Robinson in midfield. This new attacking formation created a few more half chance, the best falling to Les who opted for the first time header when he had time to control and shoot. Nevertheless Coeur battled on. Mark Growney eventually replaced Mike Coyle but his creativity was limited at wingback but he never shirked his responsibilities. A couple of distance efforts for the Villa were dealt with by Mark in goal. Eventually the final whistle came leaving both sides feeling they might have done enough for the win, however it was a day where the defences dominated. Never pretty but hard fought.
Sacre Coeur 0 Aintree Villa 0