This Saturday saw Coeur host Rhein FC. Despite being bottom of the table and having lost their opening four games, Rhein's results indicated that they wouldnt be a push over. They had lost out in tight games to Old Xavs and Old Cats, both of whom have 100% records. They had also faced Business School and Collegiate and the game today meant they had played four out of the top five in their opening five fixtures.
Si had more selection issues prior to the start of the game, but ones that cause the manager headaches for the right reasons. Degsi was back from a few weeks out due to both injury and a holiday. Ste Alty and Ste Allison were available after injury and Mick Lynch was not posing as an agent of Estates this weekend. Including himself, Si had an almighty 18 to choose from. The eighteen became seventeen as Jack Kelly managed to sleep in for a 2:30pm kick off!! The seventeen then became fifteen as Andy Pflancer and Peter Riley were despatched to complement a depleted first team. Magnanamously Si relinquished his spot on the bench in favour of the returning players.
Rob Hatton also returned to the fray after the league accepted his registration following a hearing on Tuesday night. The line up was similar to last week with the only changes being Rob in for Josh and Degsi replacing the snoozing Jack Kelly.
Cour started off sloppily, with passes going astray and a few nervous moments at the back. Five minutes into the game Rob Hatton marked his return the side when he fired home from 12 yards out past a suspect goalkeeper.
Within minutes Coeur should have doubled their lead when Mick Taylor esaped down the left and crossed to Ian Jones who had the task of turning the ball home from 6 yards out. Sadly though he opted to volley the ball rather than stooping for a header and turned the ball wide. 5 minutes later it was almost an action replay as Mick escaped a couple of hefty challenges, to his credit carrying on when he could have taken the free kick. He skipped past another challenge and lifted it to the back post where Ian got in ahead of Degsi. It was an almost identical chance from before and this time he opted to head the ball. Unbelievably the end result was the same as the ball sailed past the upright.
The goal and subsequent chances should have settled Coeur's nerves but more careless play led to a free kick being conceded 20 yards out. A wall was lined up, but it seemed to be made of swiss cheese as the ball was hammered straight through it and into the back of the net.
20 minutes in Coeur restored their lead as an attack down the right saw Degsi afforded far too much time on the ball. Rob Hatton peeled away from the defence at the far post and Degsi swerved a sumptuous cross over the backline and the keeper right onto the left peg of Rob, who calmly volleyed it into the open goal.
Rhein continued to show attacking endeavour but Coeur had definitely taken a stranglehold on the game by now. Ian Jones was played in behind the defence and the keeper rushed from his line and took Ian clean out. The ref had no hesitation and pointed to the spot. The Rhein played had plenty to say bout the decision, but the ref was sure the keeper had take Ian out before the ball. Rob Hatton stepped up to the spot and made no mistake from 12 yards as he completed his hat-trick in a dream comeback.
Sacre Coeur 3 Rhein 1
Half time was all about forcing home the advantage Coeur had. It was stressed that while they were leading the game was far from over. Still seething from dropping points at Old Holts, Si despatched his troops to finish the game off.
Rhein had obviously had a rocket at half time and came out with more purpose in their play. The back line of Coeur were in imperious form and they offered very little encouragement to the Rhein attackers. Mike Robertson at right back was having his best game yet for Coeur, first to every tackle, confident on the ball and joining the attack at every opportunity. Even Ste Ally admitted through gritted teeth that "The new lad at right back looks a decent player". Some praise indeed considering that is Ste's preferred position.
Darren in the centre of the park was looking threatening and his penetrating runs were causing Rhein problems. A great surge and pass by Darren saw Mick Taylor fire a vicious shot at goal only for the keeper to manage to turn it wide. It was just a matter of time before the fourth went in and so it proved to be. This time Rob Hatton found himself in acres within the box and smashed the ball home with his right peg.
With the game all but won, Ste Alty, Mick Lynch and Ste Allison were introduced to proceedings, replacing Degsi, Ian and Captain Marvel Rob Phil. Talk about impact substitutions, Mick Lynch wrapped the game up within 3 minutes of coming on with a fierce drive into the bottom right corner of the net. Not to be outdone Ste Alty twice got into fantastic positions only for Rob Hatton to fluff the pass on both occasions. Mick Lynch then made it six with a beautiful passed finish into the bottom left corner after Ste Alty put in on a plate for him.
Rhein were all but out on their feet now. Darren Woodcock made another dynamic surge from the middle of the park, played a lovely one-two then thrashed the ball goalwards, only to see it career back off the bar and away to safety. The final dagger in the heart for Rhein was again orchestrated by Lynchy. Mick received the ball on the left wing, dropped a shoulder, threw in a step over for good measure then hit the byline and clipped a ball to the back post where the shiny forehead of Ste Alty did the rest, boncing it home from 3 yards out.
A decent performance against a side that showed more quality than their position suggests. Nonetheless Coeur showed a ruthless side today and hopefully that can continue next time out when they face league leaders Old Cats
Sacre Coeur 7 Rhein 1