Words: Alan Robinson

Photos: Rob Reed

Last Sunday saw Penarth Wanderers Vets field two sides in the latest round of games in the Express Vehicle Services SW Casual League. The Over 35s team got their game underway at 2pm against a strong Cardiff St Pauli side. On this occasion they were short of manpower but that still didn't stop them from being a threat whenever they had the ball.

The Wanderers set themselves up with Mark Lewis in goal, a defence of Jodie Shepherd, Nathan Self, Joe Taylor and Mike Kean. In front of them was a midfield of Scott Ato, Andy Taylor, Dan Jones and Scott Muir. Andy Cayford and Darren Scanlan were the strike pairing. The usual manager, Alan Robinson, was with the Charity side so the experienced Ray Wills was manager-elect for this game. More about the Charity team later.

Penarth soon got into their stride. The performance of a couple of weeks ago was soon forgotten as they took an early lead through the ruthless finishing of Cayford. St Pauli were set back on their heels and although they still managed to present a threat it wasn't long before Cayford was on the scoresheet again. The boy just loves scoring! Before you could catch your breath Cayford was in again to complete his hat trick in record time. St Pauli were visibly shaken but managed to pull one back before Cayford was at it again - 4-1!

St Pauli then settled themselves and got into a rhythm and pulled another goal back 4-2. Then it happened again - St Pauli started the alarm bells but it seemed no one was listening - 4-3. Just before halftime they managed to equalise. It was looking to be a really tough 2nd half for the Wanderers.

The second half was a much more dour affair. A couple of changes were made, giving Gary Ato, who was unlucky not to have started the game, Nick Blake and Peter Jones a run out and some fresh legs for the team.

The Wanderers somehow managed to get their noses in front again when Andy Taylor swept home the Vets fifth goal but back came St Pauli to equalise and were unlucky not to take all three points when they hit the post twice in the dying minutes of the game. Final score 5-5.

The Vets' Over 35s next match is on 28th November again in The Dome against Llywydcoed Vets. Another tough match!

At 2.30pm the Wanderers' Charity Division side kicked off against Cardiff Northern Old Boys. The two sides battled out a 4-4 draw back in May so another tight game was anticipated.

The Wanderers Charity Division side, aka The Ultras due to their advancing years, fielded a strong multi-national side. With Billy "The Fish" Nolan in goal, in front of him Gareth Perkins, Dean Huxter, Kevin Bushell and Matt Hutchinson. In midfield were Huw Longman, Antonio Cersosimo, Paul Averies and Claudio Turcu. Up front were Martin Chick and Richie Bannister.

As expected, the game began with both sides being rather cagey. While Cardiff Northern were being a bit more direct the Wanderers were playing the more measured football. Both teams were restricted to the odd attack.

Midway through the half Penarth were awarded a free kick outside of the area. Cercosimo stepped up to take it. His record for direct free kicks is somewhat dismal but with his usual assuredness he swept the ball around the wall and into the side of the goal. 1-0 to the Wanderers. Penarth now settled into a more free-flowing game with Hutchinson making raids down the left flank, Perkins playing simple passes out from the back while Huxter and Bushell were shutting off everything in the middle.

The midfield were dictating most of the play when a long ball from the Northern defence caused the first bit of indecision. In the effort to get back Bushell only managed to bring down the Northern forward and concede the penalty. Up stepped Maksimovic for Northern who managed to put the ball wide, scraping the post on its way. Justice? I don't think so, just lucky.

In fairness, the Wanderers should have been out of sight by now but Chick and Bannister were showing signs of ring rustiness.

Into the second half the first substitution was made when Chris Rodd was introduced to inject a bit of energy as both teams were now flagging and not long after and Penarth were forced into another substitution when Bushell had to be replaced by newcomer John Whitworth. Cardiff Northern managed to equalise with a much disputed goal. Oh for VAR again. The Wanderers defence stopped expecting the call but nothing came and the ball was practically walked into the net. Northern were now calling the shots and soon they managed to take the lead when, again, lack of communication caused the ball to bounce straight into the path of the oncoming Northern forward who gratefully volleyed the ball into the roof of the net.

Although the Wanderers were visibly tiring by now and any flashes of creativity were few and far between. In the last minutes of the match Chick and Bannister still managed to force a scramble in the Northern goal and Bannister managed to force the ball in. A couple of half chances for either side closed off the game. Final score 2-2.

On reflection it was a point gained for each team. Performances were good but must be maintained - not too much to ask?