So once again Si gathered his squad and prepared to travel the length of Queens Drive to face Business School. A squad of 15 was selected which included a mix of enthusiastic young lads sprinkled with a few gnarled veterans. Of the fifteen, 12 had played for Coeur previously, along with the three new faces Andy Pflancer, Ian Jones and Darren Woodcock. Mully started in goal this week, with a back four of Jacko, Ady, Doyley and a new and improved Rob Phil. In front of them were Ian, Darren, Jack, Degs, Josh and Mick, who had combined so well in the previous friendly match. On the bench were Jack Kelly, Andy, Peter and Jonno.
In typical amateur football style Coeur arrived at the ground to find out that there were no changing rooms available, as the opposition hadn't informed the groundsman of the fixture. Fortunately they were assigned the final available pitch and trotted over to get changed at the side of it. Coeur had found a new fan base as a couple of lads and a blonde lady were watching, I think somehow related to the Rileys. Degs as per his usual modest self, took no time in stripping down to his undercrackers, not sparing a thought for the female onlooker. Fortunately for the more shy members of the squad, the grass on the pitch was overgrown and they could almost use it as an impromptu changing room.
On to the match itself. The game started on time and Coeur went straight onto the front foot. With just 3 minutes gone Josh was cynically chopped down on the very edge of the box when he looked to have wriggled past the defence. The wall was meticulously lined up by the keeper, who promptly went and stood directly behind it, leaving the other post unguarded. The opportunity to Degsi was like offering Si a free steak, instantly gobbled up. Degsi stroked the ball home to give Coeur a perfect start to the season.
A great start and an opportunity to push on and go for a second. Alas it didnt quite pan out like that and within 2 minutes Business School were level. A deep ball saw a slip in the Coeur defence and the forward fired a looping shot that ended up in the back of the net.
Coeur responded well, with Degs escaping down the left and firing a vicious cross into Josh, whos side footed effort just evaded the post. The long grass was making it difficult for Coeur to get their passing game going. Ian Jones made a yard for himself and flighted a delicious ball over the full back where Mick Taylor killed it instantly. Mick steadied himself and picked his spot. Unfortunately Mick's spot turned out to be inches wide of the far post, when really he should have scored.
More chances came and went for Coeur as both Ian and Rob Phil were denied by some acrobatic goalkeeping. It wasnt all one way traffic though as Business School had a couple of half chances that were dealt with by Coeur's back line.
Business School 1 Sacre Coeur 1
At half time Business School left the field saying good half, Si on the other hand was telling his charges, that it had been a poor half. Granted there had been chances, but coming in having only taken one wasn't good enough. The message had obviously sunk in as within 2 minutes of the restart Degsi floated a beautiful ball across the box, where Mick Taylor beat both the full back and the keeper to the ball and headed home.
Coeur were having the better of the game but Business School still toiled away and threatened themselves. It looked to have been almost sewn up with 20 minutes to go when Josh was played in, he chested the ball down past the last defender and slotted it home calmly, only for the ref to rule it out for offside!!!
Not deterred by the latest set back Coeur continued to press, with Mick Taylor in particular giving the left back a torrid time. A great ball down the line by Ady saw Mick dart past the full back, only for the tiring defender to chop him down before any more damage could be caused. Ian and Degsi deliberated over who was going to deliver the cross, before Ian trotted away from the ball. Degsi rolled the ball into Ian's path where he clipped a fantastic shot over the keeper and headed for the far corner. Unfortunately the ball struck the inside of the post and span along the goalline. Mick Taylor came steaming in to force the ball home, but it was blocked on the line and somehow couldn't be turned home.
Coeur looked to kill the game off and introduced Jack Kelly for Ady and Peter for Darren. Within minutes the substitution had paid off as Josh produced some brilliant hold up play before feeding it into the path of Peter who did the rest, firing home into the far corner of the net.
A collective sigh of relief was heard as Coeur had got their rewards for their attacking endeavours. Once again though, this caused a bit of a brain-fart in Coeur's back line as a catalogue of errors allowed Business School in. The first shot was brilliantly saved, but the forward reacted quicker and tucked the rebound home. Business school pressed for an equaliser and twice went close, but Coeur managed to close the game out and take an opening day victory.
A game that could have been out of sight had Coeur taken their chances ended up being nervy towards the end. Nonetheless a win is a win and Coeur deserved the points that they eventually took.
Business School 2 Sacre Coeur 3