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A run of five games without a defeat stretching back to mid-February came to an end at SV Darmstadt 98 on Saturday. After edging the first half the Boys in Brown eventually went down 4-0. Mathias Honsak gave Darmstadt an early lead before goals from Yannick Stark, Marvin Mehlem and Victor Palsson in the closing stages eased the home side to a comfortable win. Dimitrios Diamantakos then missed a penalty in time added on.

Head coach Jos Luhukay made three changes to the side that beat FC Nürnberg last time out. Matt Penney, Dimitrios Diamantakos and Henk Veerman made way for James Lawrence, Viktor Gyökeres and Boris Tashchy. After four successive defeats at Darmstadt, the aim going into the game was to get a result at long last – preferably a win, of course.

Before the home side got the ball rolling at the empty Böllenfalltor a minute's silence was held in memory of the victims of the coronavirus. Darmstadt made the better start and immediately went through the gears, creating their first chance straight from the opening corner with just 57 seconds on the clock. Mathias Honsak pulled the trigger, but Robin Himmelmann was alert to the danger and saved with his foot. Five minutes later the spotlight was on Honsak again. After a wayward pass on the left side of our defence, Victor Palsson, scorer of the only goal in the reverse fixture, showed good vision to pick out Honsak from the byeline and he slotted home from eight metres to give the Lilies an early lead.

With a quarter of an hour gone, the Boys in Brown began to take control and posed a threat the first time they quickened the tempo down the right. Ryo Miyaichi drove into the box and cut the ball back low to Tashchy, but his shot was blocked at the last moment by Dario Dumic. Almost immediately, Tim Skarke had two opportunities to double his side's lead: Lawrence got in the way of the first one and Leo Østigård did the same moments later. Back at the other end, Østigård headed a corner just over before Luhukay's side fashioned their best chance of the game to that point. The Lilies somehow managed to block Rico Benatelli's initial shot and then Viktor Gyökeres was denied by Darmstadt keeper Marcel Schuhen when looking good to score.

The game continued to ebb and flow, with hardly a dull moment. Schuhen gathered an 18-metre drive from Waldemar Sobota and then Felix Platte rifled a shot over the top from a promising position. Gyökeres had the next opportunity for the Boys in Brown, but his effort from outside the box took a deflection and looped some way over the crossbar. The resulting corner from Marvin Knoll was met first time by Miyaichi, but the Japan midfielder mistimed it and the ball flew wide.

Six minutes later Gyökeres went up against Schuhen again. The Swede attempted to curl the ball into the far corner from the left-hand side, but the Darmstadt keeper was on hand to tip the ball over the bar. It was then Himmelmann's turn to dive to his left to defuse a long-range effort from Fabian Schnellhardt. That was to be the final action of note, leaving the home side to go in a goal to the good at the half.

In a first half full of chances, Mathias Honsak was the only protagonist to find the net.

In a first half full of chances, Mathias Honsak was the only protagonist to find the net.

Both sides emerged unchanged for the second half. The pattern remained much the same, too: the Boys in Brown continued to have more of the play, with the home side now defending a little deeper and keeping things tight in their own half. A gap opened up when captain Daniel Buballa surged forward, but Miyaichi dallied slightly in getting the shot off, resulting in yet another effort blocked.

In the 54th minute the home side were presented with an opportunity from a free-kick. Schnellhardt stepped up and curled a well-struck effort over the wall but just wide of Himmelmann's goal. Luhukay responded by making not one but four substitutions out of his contingent of five! Johannes Flum, Luis Coordes, Henk Veerman and Dimitrios Diamantakos came on for Daniel Buballa, Rico Benatelli, Viktor Gyökeres and Boris Tashchy. For Darmstadt, Serdar Dursun replaced the injured Felix Platte and immediately laid the ball off with his heel for Marcel Heller. He took it round Himmelmann and slotted home to make it 2-0, only for the goal to be disallowed for offside.

Dursun livened things up for the Lilies and could have added a second a few minutes later, but Lawrence got a sliding tackle in to defuse the shot. Soon after that the impressive Himmelmann had to pull out all the stops to deny Honsak not once but twice. With the Boys in Brown struggling to break the Darmstadt defence down, the home side increased the tempo and eventually got their second goal through substitute Yannick Stark. The midfielder, who had replaced Tim Skarke eight minutes earlier, struck a fierce shot from 22 metres that flew into the bottom right corner to leave Himmelmann powerless.

And there was more to come. The Lilies showed clinical efficiency to make it 3-0 four minutes later. Tobias Kempe had not been on the field long when he hit a low cross from the left into the middle, where fellow sub Marvin Mehlem swept into the bottom right corner. Then, with a minute of regulation time left, Palsson added a fourth, his first-time effort smacking against the bar and then into the net off Himmelmann's outstretched arm. Shortly before the end the Boys in Brown were awarded a penalty when Fabian Holland handled the ball in the box, but Diamantakos stuck it wide of the left-hand upright to leave it 4-0 to the home side.

SV Darmstadt 98

Schuhen - Herrmann, Dumic, Rapp, Holland - Palsson, Schnellhardt (Mehlem 75') - Heller (Paik 75'), Honsak (Kempe 75'), Skarke (Stark 66') - Platte (Dursun 61')

Head coach: Dimitrios Grammozis


FC St. Pauli

Himmelmann - Ohlsson, Østigård, Lawrence, Buballa (Coordes 61') - Benatelli (Flum 61'), Knoll (Becker 77') - Miyaichi, Sobota, Gyökeres (Diamantakos 61') - Tashchy (Veerman 61')

Head coach: Jos Luhukay


Goals: 1-0 Honsak (7'), 2-0 Stark (74'), 3-0 Mehlem (78'), 4-0 Palsson (89')

Incidents of note: Penalty miss by Diamantakos (90'+1)

Yellow cards: Buballa, Østigård (5th of the season/suspended against Heidenheim)

Referee: Benedikt Kempkes


Photos: Witters