ON Sunday Penarth Wanderers Vets played Cardiff St Pauli in the Express Vehicle Services SW Casual League at Leckwith Stadium on the outside 3G pitch. With a bit of dampness in the air and the possibility of rain, a faster game was expected.

This was certainly the case in this fast paced, entertaining match.

Penarth took to the field with Paul Averies putting the team through their warm-up exercises. Starting with Mark Lewis in goal, a defence of Richard Starr, Dave Lewis, Nathan Self and Mike Kean, Antonio Cersosimo and captain Scott Ato, flanked by Richard Bannister and Scott Muir, with Martin Chick and the returning Darren Scanlan up front.

The match was only a couple of minutes old when St Pauli took the lead, proving that you can be physically warm, but mentally is another question. It took the St Pauli forward two chances but his second, a sublime scissor kick put the ball well out of keeper Mark Lewis’ reach.

So it was that the first twenty minutes was mostly St Pauli, but Penarth grew into the game and dominated causing St Pauli no end of problems. Chances were made and went begging. It was obvious that when a shot hit the bar, rebounded, hit the St Pauli keeper on the head, then hit the post and eventually went wide that it wasn’t going to be Penarth’s day. So it was right up to a minute before half time, when an error at the back presented St Pauli with their second goal.

Manager Ronnie Rahman, was at a loss as to how to lift spirits for the second half. “If we keep playing the football we can get back into this. Just keep your heads.” The first 20 minutes of the second half kept to the plan. More chances were made when Scanlan went through, then Scott Ato, then Martin Chick. All presented with decent chances. Chris Rodd and Mike Roberts were the first two changes for the second half.

St Pauli are a good team. Fast and strong with no little ability, so it was fatal to lose possession in midfield. St Pauli broke forward only for their centre-forward to be fouled resulting in a penalty. Lewis flew across the goal and got a hand to it but it was just too high. 3-0 to St Pauli.

Penarth huffed and puffed but passes were now going wayward and the opposition midfield was able to pick and choose how to go around players and make their chances. Maybe they were getting a bit too blase, so when a through ball from Mike Roberts split their defence, Chick raced through only to be taken down. After the last penalty debacle the taker was decided before kick off. It had to be Chick. Maintaining his record of scoring in each game the ball flew straight down the middle with the keeper going the wrong way. 3-1!

With some tired legs on the pitch experienced Ray Wills, Mike Bracey and Nathan Turpitt took to the field. But with only 10 minutes to go in the game, Penarth again lost possession cheaply and an accurate cross by St Pauli to their massive centre forward - a John Parkin lookalke - outjumped Lewis in goal only to flatten him and head the ball into an empty net. So much for protecting goalkeepers, it harked back to the good(?) old days. 4-1 final score.

These reports are becoming a bit like deja vu. It seems the better Penarth play then the more they get beat. Today, they did not deserve to lose as in their previous game. The next game, on December 1st, could also be a banana skin as little are known about Hangover 96.