With over a month having passed since the Civserv game, Coeur had played just once, though that turned out to be extremely low key against a weak Liobians side. Today's opponents would almost certainly give Coeur a decent run for their money. Mexoc had fallen to Coeur in the second week of the season. but had won 3 and drawn 1 of their last 5 games.
Once again Coeur had a decent compliment of players to choose from, with Si rounding off the 16. Mully was in goal, Mick Robbo and Rob Phil at full backs with Matty and Jacko at centre half. Degs, Ian and Jack made up the midfield with Rob and Mick flanking Alty up top. The bench warmers this week were Ste Ally, Peter, Jack Kelly, Lynchy and Si (though he didnt even bother getting changed).
The pitch looked in reasonable condition to start with, though it was heavy due to the almost incessant rain of the past few weeks. Mexoc lined up with a much changed side from the previous encounter and started the game far brighter than Coeur. The first 20 minutes were dominated by Mexoc with Coeur failing to produce anything resembling decent football. The passing was wayward, the tracking was lackse and the effort was far from the expected standard.
Mexoc pressed forward at will and were dominating in the centre of the park and down both flanks. Despite all their possession their only good chance came as they headed against the bar, before the rebound dropped perfectly for the forward who managed to screw his shot wide. Coeur managed to string one decent move together that freed Alty, he broke clear and despite having time to compose himself, he was unable to finish. His shot squirmed under the keeper, but enough pace had been taken off the ball to prevent it from crossing the line and it was scrambled away for a corner.
The game continued to go the way of Mexoc, though the creation of any clear chances were limited and they were unable to capatilise on any of the half chances they had.
Mexoc 0 Sacre Coeur 0
The riot act was duly read at half time and Coeur were told in no uncertain terms to forget the league title, unless the improved their performance in the second half. The carrot of going top of the league remained and Coeur were told to go out and produce a more spirited second half display at the very least.
The match proved to be a cliched game of two halves. Coeur came out determined to show their true selves and started applying pressure on the Mexoc backline within minutes. Alty was again provided with an excellent chance, but was once again thwarted by the keeper low to his right. Chances began coming thick and fast for Coeur as Alty was again released in behind the defence only to be met by his nemesis once more, this time the keeper blocking the shot and smothering it.
Degsi was next to be thwarted by the diminutive Mexoc stopper as he guided a low shot towards the bottom corner of the net, only for the keeper to block it again. Rob Hatton also saw a decent effort rebound off the legs of the keeper as Coeur were once again kept at bay. It looked like it wasn't going to be Coeur's day, then Degsi popped up to nod a rebound high into the Mexoc net to give Coeur the lead.
Changes were made to the Coeur line up with Lynchy and Jack Kelly replacing Ian and Jack Riley. Lynchy being told to sit in and break up the Mexoc play in the centre of the park. Now Im not sure what went on in Lynchy's head but he was barrelling forward at every opportunity and created anothe chance for Alty who once again was unable to beat the keeper. Seeing that is was just not happening for Ste, Si called upon Ste Ally to replace him.
Mexoc had a penalty shout turned down as the ball struck Mick Robertson's hand from close range, but the ref wasn't in any mood to humour their claims. Minutes later all of Coeur's good work looked to have been undone but for a flying save from Mully, though it was defiitely for the cameras.
Jack Kelly, Lynchy and Rob Hatton all went close to sealing the game for Coeur, but their efforts were a matter of inches away from the target. With the game looking like Coeur had done enough to secure the points the ball dropped to a Mexoc player a few yards out on the back post, with Mully caught under the cross. Somehow the forward contrived to stick the ball the wrong side of the post, though the ripple of the net caused a few palpitations in the hearts on the Coeur line. Fortunately it was a dreadful miss.
The ref blew soon afterwards and Coeur had the 3 points that took them to the top of the table. A terrible first half that is best forgotten, but a much better second period that saw Coeur create enough chances to win the game. Mexoc will feel hard done to, but Coeur created more chances when they were on top and probably deserved to win the game, but only just!!
Mexoc 0 Sacre Coeur 1