ON Sunday 30th June, after nearly 25 years, Penarth Wanderers Veterans FC returned to competitive action with their first match in the newly formed South Wales Casual League - Summer Competition.

Playing their first match away against Cardiff Northern OB at the Eastern Campus, Rumney, the Wanderers settled into some free-flowing attractive football against an experienced Cardiff Northern side who were two wins out of two up until then.

The team, managed by Ronnie Rahman, gave debuts to four new players in Mike Roberts, Mark Lewis, Kirtis Jax and Scott Muir along with the older campaigners of Mark Christopherato, Cem Aydin, Chris Rodd, Alan Robinson, Dave Lewis and Antonio Cersosimo.

Completing the multi-national squad were Martin Chick, Mike Keane, Mike Bracey, Claudio Turcu and Scott Christopherato.

Penarth soon took the lead when, after some slick football, switching the play quickly, a superb ball across the six yard box by Muir gave Rodd a simple finish. Soon after Bracey doubled the lead with a well-timed header from a corner by Cersosimo.

In the ecstasy of scoring two good goals, the Wanderers switched off momentarily enabling Northern to pull one back. But, the Wanderers got back on track just as quickly when Bracey scored his second with a clever stab over the oncoming keeper. At half-time, Wanderers led 3-1.

The second half soon got under way, maybe a bit too soon for some players, when Northern pulled another goal back - 3-2.

The Wanderers midfield of Cersosimo, Bracey, Chrisopherato Jnr and Roberts continued to dictate the game, making the most of the roll-on, roll-off substitutions, with the combination of Roberts, Muir, Turcu and Jax pinning the opposition back for long periods enabling the Wanderers to stretch their lead, after a few near misses, when Turcu danced around the Northern defence to cooly slot the ball past the full-back, centre-back and keeper all on the line - 4-2!

But then a clever long range chip by a Northern midfielder clawed it back to 4-3.

Unfortunately, this was followed by perhaps the only low point of the afternoon when Jax was fouled and then deemed to have retaliated, giving the ref no option but to send him off.

For all those watching from the side-lines, Penarth and Northern, it seemed a harsh decision.

Justice was done when the pin-point free-kick from Rahman found the head of Keane who thundered in the fifth goal.

This lead to a frantic last ten minutes when Northern threw everything the could at the Wanderers defence of Christopherato Snr, Keane and Chick, soundly marshalled by skipper Dave Lewis.

Even when they were breached Mark Lewis (Dave's brother) pulled off some brilliant point-blank saves. In the last couple of minutes Christopherato Jnr, Scott, conceded a penalty, 5-4, but thankfully there was not enough time for Northern to find the net again and save a point.

Team manager, Ronnie Rahman, was well pleased with the victory and after the game said: "All the boys did well, especially as it was the first game together for some and showed that things were looking promising for the rest of the competition and the future of Penarth Wanderers Vets FC."

The sportsmanship and hospitality of the Cardiff Northern team was much appreciated.

The Wanderers are now looking forward to their next match against local rivals Cwrt-y-Vil Old Boys in the Summer Cup.