PENARTH Wanderers played their penultimate match in the inaugural SW Casual Summer League against Thornhill Legends last Sunday.

The two teams had met in the past to play charity games but this was the first time they had met competitively.

The game started fairly evenly with Billy Nolan back in goal and a defence of Mike Kean, Dave Lewis, Nathan Self and Gary Ato in front of him.

Thornhill's attacks were dealt with, at times, with some last ditch tackles. Nolan, feeling a well placed shoulder under the chin, managed to keep the ball out and responded to some reflex saves.

Penarth were finding it difficult to get the ball moving.

This was due to a combination of poor passing and a poor pitch – but that's no excuse.

The forward pairing of Darren Scanlan and Martin Chick, usually so effective, were starved of service and feeding off scraps of possession around the Thornhill box.

At one point, Chick was scythed down only for the referee to wave away claims for a penalty.

The resulting protest earned him five minutes in the sin-bin, with Chris Rodd filling the space temporarily.

Penarth were soon denied another penalty shout when Scanlan was taken down – again the referee refused. Oh for VAR!

The midfield of Scott Muir, Nathan Turpitt, Scott Ato and Antonio Cersosimo found themselves regularly overrun through the middle and it was only a matter of time before Penarth conceded.

Turpitt gave way to Rodd and Cersosimo moved inside.

For a brief moment the defence switched off and the Thornhill forward rode a couple of week tackles to plant the ball firmly past Nolan. 1-0 half time.

Being behind at half-time is not something that Penarth had experienced often.

Then, before Thornhill could get back into their game, Muir leapt the highest to beat his marker and bullet a header into the top corner.

Things were all too briefly looking better. But alas no - 3-1!

Utilising a smaller than usual squad, manager for the day, Alan Robinson, decided a couple of changes had to be made. Cersosimo made way for Mike Bracey and Chick, who had run himself into the ground, left the pitch for Claudio Turcu to go on up front.

Hoping that the Romanian riverdancer might change the tempo of the game and force the Thornhill defence into a mistake or two.

Not much chance of that as Penarth’s game was becoming more and more ragged.

Thornhill’s fourth and fifth goals soon followed. With twenty minutes or more left, Bracey managed to loose one of the few shots from outside the box, catching the Thornhill keeper off his line, and sailing into the top of the goal - 5-2.

The low point of the game was when Self, as last man, tried to pull back the Thornhill winger, conceding a penalty and getting sent off for his efforts.

Maybe it was karma but the penalty was missed.

In the dying minutes of the game, Thornhill scored their sixth goal after some comical defending, players trying to clear the ball like can-can dancers.

The score, maybe a little flattering to the opposition, has dented Penarth’s chances of winning the Summer League, as it now depends on the result of their final match on Thursday against Cardiff St Pauli.

It’s still a three-way tie with St Pauli playing Thornhill next Sunday in their final match.