Words: Alan Robinson

Photos: Bob Reed

Penarth Wanderers managed to play their latest match in the EVSSW Casual League Over 35s Division against Caer Castell after a hectic couple of days rearranging venues due to circumstances beyond their control. This meant that the Charity Division game was cancelled. At the time this meant that there would be more players to pick the squad from. It didn't quite pan out that way but still had a squad of 16.

The starting line up consisted of Mark Lewis in goal, in front of him were Gary Ato, Kevin Bushell, Dean Huxter and Mike Kean. In midfield were Chris Rodd (captain), Scott Ato, Dave Lewis and Martin Chick. Penarth's forwards were Jared Ali and Andy Cayford. On the bench were Richard Bannister, Matt Hutchinson, Billy Nolan, Darren Scanlan and Alan Robinson.

All the sounds from the Wanderers changing room were confident - maybe a little too confident after the previous performance against Llwydcoed.

The starting line-up meant that there was an abundance of pace throughout the side. Something that, as it turned out, was poorly utilised. Cayford and Ali, a new pairing for this game, struggled to find some sort of understanding. The midfield were slow off the mark and disjointed giving the back four little protection. Penarth were second to the ball on too many occasions and gave the ball away cheaply. It wasn't long before they were caught out and one of the Castell forwards ran through to slide the ball past Lewis - 0-1!

A bit of a wake up call! Penarth then managed to string a few passes together and Chick managed to get beyond the forwards. The Castell keeper was caught in no-mans' land and was able to chest the ball into the empty goal - 1-1.

Penarth then tried to settle the game down but hadn't learnt anything from the first twenty minutes. Chick, Rodd and Lewis huffed and puffed while Scott Ato struggled to find any rhythm in midfield and too many passes were going astray. Defending was reaching panic levels and corners were conceded unnecessarily. From one corner the marking was slack and the Castell centre-forward dived into the empty space to head home powerfully from about 12 yards - 1-2!

With about ten minutes left in the first half a repeat of the first goal. 1-3 half time.

Changes were made for the second half with Scanlan replacing Ali and Hutchinson replacing Bushell. Bannister, who replaced Dave Lewis, got involved in a silly tussle but the referee deemed it enough to give both players 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

With about fifteen minutes to go Ali went back on for Rodd as Penarth decided to through everything forward. It was too little too late and though they created a few half-chances the game slipped away from them.

Penarth were the engineers of their own downfall. Knowing this was a six-point match they came away with nothing and are now left with a mountain to climb.

With the rearranged match against The Exiles hopefully going ahead next Sunday (19th) the next scheduled matches are on January 9th against Canton Rangers in the Over 35s Division and Caerphilly Dragons in the Charity Div. Fingers crossed!