With William Collins being unavailable this week, Coeur had two options available, postpone the game till next week or switch it to the hallowed fields of Buckley Hill. Given that Old Xavs had won their last 5 league games, scoring 33 and conceding 0 in the process, it was decided to move the game to the tighter pitch at Buckley Hill and restrict the space for their free flowing game.
The back four consisted of Rob, Jacko, Andy and Ste, with a midfield of Jay Price, Carra, Martin and Degs, who was asked to fill an unfamiliar left midfield role. Up front was Chrissy and Ste Alty. Youngsters Jack K and Christian filled the spaces on the bench.
With strong winds and driving rain, Coeur knew that conditions would make the game more of a battle rather than a pretty game of football. With this in mind Si sent Coeur out with the instructions to hassle Xavs at every opportunity and to limit their time on the ball to pick a pass.
Facing the wind in the first half, Coeur conceded a silly free kick with 5 minutes gone. The free kick was arrowed towards the far post, where Ste Ally managed to connect with his head, only to steer it into the corner of his own net. Not the start Coeur had hoped for.
Xavs were buoyed by this and looked to get their talismanic winger into the game at every opportunity, however Rob Hatton was once again a match for him and kept him well shackled. Coeur were doing the basics right and while keeping the passing short and tight they also ensured that on losing possesion Xavs had limited time to pick out any dangerous passes.
A few tackles from both sides were flying in, but nothing malicious, more a case of miss timing them in the conditions. Martin Wilson found himself in the book again after numerous warnings from the ref to curb his enthusiasm.
Sacre Coeur 0 Old Xaverians 1
The second half saw Coeur creating more chances and on the hour Ste Alty stooped to head in a long throw from Rob Hatton. 1 - 1. Game on.
Xavs toiled away, but at this point were getting very little from the Coeur backline. Chrissy Whelan then interjected himself in the game, escaping down the inside left channel after a great ball from Degs. He dragged the ball away from the defender, but was foiled by the oustretched boot of the keeper. A great save.
Coeur then took the lead when a corner created havoc in the Xavs box. A shot was blocked before the ball rebounded of a Xavs player and into his own net.
Xavs pushed forward for an equaliser and miseed a great chance when instead of heading a simple chance home, the winger headed hopelessly wide. In truth this was Xavs only real chance as Coeur were fierce in their defence. Carra and Martin snapped into tackles in the middle of the park and Degsi and Rob were intelligent in their distribution down the left.
The two youngsters were introduced from the bench to add an extra injection of energy for the closing minutes. Jack showed his worth immediately with a couple of excellent solid tackles and Christian ensured that Xavs back line didnt get a moments peace.
Chrissy then almost added a third for Coeur with an excellent Cruyff turn on the edge of the box before his smart shot was brilliantly kept out by the keeper.
An excellent performance against a high-flying side who had won their last 11 matches in all competitions. A deserved victory that will hopefully lead on to a better run of results.
Sacre Coeur 2 Essemmay 1