Photo by Stefan Groenveld
Spieltag 4: FC St. Pauli vs 1. FC Heidenheim
In a way that only FCSP can manage, any early season optimism has been beaten out of even the most optimistic fan, if such a fan exists at all. In all honesty, the Darmstadt game was so appalling to watch that I couldn’t bring myself to write anything other than “shite, shite, shite” on a page. That’s not compelling reading no matter how cathartic it may be to write it.
A Saturday lunch time kick off against Heidenheim did nothing to set pulses racing. But it turned out to be just the tonic, even if it did take 92 minutes for the body to ingest.
Cenk Sahin got his first start of the season, and while Philipp Ziereis is still recovering from his concussion, Christopher Avevor continues to be given a chance to play like Bambi on ice at the back.
The first half came and went, and largely, not a lot happened. St. Pauli started well as you would hope with a passionate Millerntor behind them, but Heidenheim grew into the game as the half went on.
Himmelmann was rarely really tested, and his counterpart never put under any undue pressure from the Boys in Brown. We had boat-loads of possession, but created virtually no clear chances; it looked like another day where we didn’t have a goal in us.
Olaf Janßen shuffled the deck at half time and brought Dæli into this mix. His performances so far this season have been outstanding, keeping Sahin at bay along with Sobota. Now we looked lively, if not frustrating. The first of many chances for the crowd to jangle their keys came in the fifty second minute. Another nine would follow in the next forty minutes. One of them had to count surely.
Heidenheim were not without chances, Big John Verhoek had a chance, and Avevor nearly deflected a cannon of a shot from Schnatter into the goal.
Seemingly, as the minutes ticked down, this would be one of those days where we just couldn’t find that killer final ball or that cool head that takes the chance. We’ve all seen them as St. Pauli fans; been up at 4am to travel thousands of miles for a 0-0, when we could have watched similar striking ability in the park for free.
Today was not to be one of those days. One last Eckball. The clock on 92 minutes. It’s now or never St. Pauli. A corner, from under the scoreboard. For those not familiar with the Millerntor yet, this is between the massive Gegengerade and the Sudkurve. If there is a Millerntor Roar to drive you home, this is where you want to take a corner from. It floats in. Three St. Pauli men appear to converge to attack it, but it’s a Heidenheim head that gets to it, putting it across the box to another white shirt, who knocks it towards goal. The goal line defender makes a half-hearted attempt at a clearance, where it drops to Johannes Flum, who cooly and calmly side-foots it into the top-right corner.
The emotion and relief in the stadium is clear. Janßen almost Ewald-esque in his animation, massive holes appear in the Sudkurve as fans hug friends and strangers. I’m sure more than a few pints of Astra will have found their way into people’s hair. There really is nothing like a last minute winner.
So another 3 points in the bag, and whilst the result that flatters the overall performance, it was (just about) overall deserved – and can only serve as motivation into the week off and then a trip to Nürnberg.