The late Summer sunshine warming the pitch epitomised the optimism of the Vets following a victory last week. Today, however, was always going to be a sterner test, and so it proved to be.
Coeur struggled to establish themselves in the early stages of the game as Xavs combined strength and guile to have the better of the early stages. However some strong defending prevented Xavs capitalising on this pressure : O'Brien, Rannard, Davies and Rannard jnr all stepping up when needed.
On the occasions Coeur did gain possession it was wasted with some poor passing that was often too long or too straight, leaving Phil and Mick Roach with very little to work with up front.
Inevitably the pressure finally told as, against Rannard's requests the team played the offside card from a free kick. Needless to say this failed and as the stationery Coeur players left the ball for a choice of Xavs players to head it back across the box for another unmarked Xavs player to skilfully place his header into the top corner leaving the keeper left with no real chance.
Coeur tried to comeback but again wasteful passing prevented any progress and as the half ended Coeur descended into petty bickering with Matty "white noise" Davies at the heart of it!
After strong words at half time Coeur reshuffled with the youthful Carmichael going wide and Dave Smith moving into the centre of midfield. Sadly within 2 mins of the restart Dave Smith suffered a broken ankle in what appeared an innocuous challenge. After a lengthy delay for the ambulance play resumed and Coeur were able to press with a long ball and flick on allowing Phil Gorton to notch clinically to level things.
The second half then saw Coeur come under almost constant pressure. The change of Roach for Paul Robinson provided fresh legs but sadly very slow fresh legs! Mick Stewart and Alan Brown saw lots of effort but again very little quality, particularly with the final ball.
And so the game ended with Coeur hanging on for a fortunate draw with Xavs twice hitting the woodwork.
Final score 1-1.