After last week's lengthy but fruitful trip to the south end of the city, Coeur were back on the hallowed turf of Buckley Hill. Somewhat suprisingly, the pitch was in excellent condition (by Buckley's standards) and Coeur looked forward to a decent game of football.
The vistors this week were Mexoc, formerly of the Zingari Combination and fresh from last week's 10-0 mauling of Liobians. Early on in the season it can be difficult to guess as to the opposition's prowess as results need a few weeks to develop some context. Coeur, however, still felt confident going into the game, knowing that despite last weeks victory, they still had plenty of room for improvement.
Despite it being only the second week of the season, Coeur were already hit by absentees. Notably Josh Corkin departing for Uni again Whilst Ady and Ian had prior commitments in the form of a charity do and a family wedding respectively. This meant that there were opportunities for Jack Kelly, Andy Pflancer and Mick Lynch.
Coeur started the game brightly and were passing the football round really well. Jack Riley, Darren and Jack Kelly were controlling the centre of the pitch and Mick Taylor and Andy Pflancer were creating problems for the Mexoc defenders. Twice within the first 10 minutes Andy got past the left back and fired the ball across the goal, but both times Degsi and Mick were unable to meet the cross and the chances went begging.
After 10 minutes Coeur were handed something of a break. A ball over the top saw Rob Phil and a Mexoc forward come together in a tangle of legs, just outside the box. The ref gave the free kick and then allowed Rob the benefit of the doubt and never produced any cards. In fairness it was more a coming together than a tackle by Rob, but had it been a ref who was more a stickler for the letter of the law, then Rob could have walked.
After this let off Coeur settled into their pattern of play again and Andy Pflancer once again was causing problems for the left back. This time he fired in a decent shot which the keeper did well to keep out. Jack Kelly also saw a shot well saved as he fired in from 25 yards.
As the half drew to a close Mick Taylor escaped down the left but his shot just missed the far post.
Sacre Coeur 0 Mexoc 0
The half time team talk was positive and Coeur were convinced that it was only a matter of time before the goal came. And so it proved. 10 minutes into the half, Darren Woodcock showed great composure on the edge of a congested box and flicked a delicious little chip into the path of Andy Pflancer, who smashed it past a helpless keeper.
Coeur continued to press and were creating chances at regular intervals. Andy again escaped the left back and cut a stunning cross back across the goalmouth where Mick Taylor rose well, but was only able to nod the ball against the top of the crossbar and behind.
Sean Davies was introduced for Jack Kelly on the hour and he linked well with Degsi who fed Mick Taylor in. Mick made no mistake this time as he passed the ball into the back of th net to give Coeur a lead that their play had meritted.
Jonno was introduced from the bench to replace Andy Pflancer who had impressed on his first start.
Peter Riley was the next Coeur player to trouble the Mexoc backline as he danced past a couple of defenders before firing agonisingly past the far post by a matter of inches, much to the dismay of his adoring fans (well family members anyway).
With 12 minutes to go Mexoc managed to grab a goal back as poor defending from a corner allowed them a tap in from a few yards out. This spurred Mexoc on and they pumped a few long balls forward and tried to join in with their big ox of a forward. Coeur however stood strong and saw the game out comfortably.
A decent performance, especially some of the passing in the first half. Two well worked goals gave Coeur the victory they deserved, but once again more clinical finishing would settle the match a lot earlier.
Sacre Coeur 2 Mexoc 1