HAVING got off to a flying start in the Express Vehicle Services SW Casual League in their first game, Penarth Wanderers Vets found themselves back on the learning curve.

Looking every inch a capable side in their new kit, sponsored by Express Vehicle Services, the Wanderers set about their task of evening up the result from the previous meeting against a strong Thornhill Legends side.

The starting line-up fielded by manager Ronnie Rahman included new member Joe Taylor at centre-half, flanked by Dave Lewis, his brother Mark and Mike Keane with Billy Nolan in goal. The midfield featured Antonio Cersosimo, Mike Bracey, Scott Ato and Mike Roberts with Martin Chick and Scott Muir in attack.

The bench was made up of Chris Rodd, Gary Ato, Nathan Turpitt, Alan Robinson along with two more new players, Richard Starr and Richard Bannister.

It didn’t take long for the match to accelerate with Penarth carrying the game to Thornhill and forcing them deep into their own half. At times it was only Penarth’s wayward finishing and nerves in front of goal which prevented a runaway score.

Chick spurned some decent chances, then Muir. Cersosimo and Scott Ato switched the play to Roberts and Bracey quickly. Keane found plenty of space coming forward from his right-back position to have a couple of thunderous shots palmed over by the Thornhill keeper, who in the early stages was getting away with some ridiculous saves.

Amazingly only one of the many chances found its way into the net when Chick pounced to score after 30 minutes. Then within a couple of minutes Thornhill conceded a penalty for handball. The ball was given to new boy Starr whose tame shot was easily saved. An expensive miss for Thornhill soon equalised.

Some slack discipline from Thornhill meant one of their players being sin-binned for 10 minutes. Penarth were not to be outdone as when Chick was clean through on goal when a Thornhill defender just managed to get a piece of him, if only he had gone down. Regaining his balance he tried to round the keeper but his shot was saved.

In the aftermath the referee deemed it necessary to sin-bin, for putting their point across a bit too strongly, both Chick and Cersosimo for the final five of minutes of the half and then five into the second half.

Starting the second half with nine men, Penarth maintained their composure and controlled the game till Chick and Cersosimo returned.

Rodd and Bannister were thrown into the fray to inject some pace but again, chance after chance was spurned. It must have been over twenty efforts on goal to Thornhill’s two.

But as is the nature of this type of game when you don’t convert your chances it comes back to bite you when Thornhill took the lead when they scored accompanied by a suspicious handball. Shame there were no linesmen or VAR!

With about ten minutes to go Thornhill’s wide right player sent in a cross which should have been dealt with easily but it evaded Nolan’s outstretched hand falling to their centre-forward who scored.

Even with ten minutes to go Penarth still could not get anything passed a now inspired Thornhill goalkeeper who was pulling off saves or outstanding quality. Final score 1-3 to Thornill.

Far from being downhearted Penarth knew that they will play far worse this season and win.

Manager Rahman will have to have a talk with Neil Warnock to find out how to win games with much less possession than the opposition!