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Yes, we can! FC St. Pauli picked up their first win of the season at the fourth attempt on Monday evening, beating Holstein Kiel 2-1 at the Millerntor. New recruit James Lawrence opened the scoring after the restart and youngster Christian Conteh added a second before Makana Baku pulled one back late on for the visitors.

Head coach Jos Luhukay made three changes to the side that began at VfB Stuttgart last time out. New signings James Lawrence and Matt Penney both featured in the starting lineup along with new father Jan-Philipp Kalla, Niklas Hoffmann, Florian Carstens and Kevin Lankford dropping to the bench. The St. Pauli boss also switched his formation from a 4-4-2 to a 3-5-2, with Dimitrios Diamantakos partnering Christian Conteh up front.

The action more than matched the 30-degree heat at the Millerntor on Monday evening. In a high-intensity opening 20 minutes, both sides went at it hammer and tongs. The Boys in Brown enjoyed the better of the early exchanges and fashioned the first opportunity of the game with 11 minutes gone. Ryo Miyaichi cut the ball back for Diamantakos, whose goalbound shot was deflected away by a last-second lunge from Phil Neumann. Three minutes later it was Robin Himmelmann's goal that came under threat. Salih Özcan played Lion Lauberbach in with a quickly taken free-kick, but the keeper was able to divert the shot out for a corner.

Luhukay's charges created their second big chance in the 17th minute. Miyaichi did brilliantly to get round the back and pick out the advancing Mats Møller Dæhli, whose shot was blocked by Neumann. And the Kiel centre-back was on hand again to deny Finn Ole Becker on 26, getting a head in the way to turn the midfielder's long-range effort away for a corner.

The final quarter of an hour produced little in the way of chances. Makana Baku's shot from just outside the box was no problem for Himmelmann, and an effort from Miyaichi sailed harmlessly wide of Dominik Reimann's goal. Alexander Mühling tried his luck for the visitors on the stroke of half-time, but his shot cleared the bar by some distance.

What a way to start! New signing James Lawrence celebrates after giving his side the lead on 49 minutes.

What a way to start! New signing James Lawrence celebrates after giving his side the lead on 49 minutes.

The second period began with a great chance for the visitors. Substitute David Atanga laid the box off for Baku in the box, and the striker's shot on the turn missed the target by a whisker. The answer wasn't long in coming, though, and what an answer it was. Mats Møller Dæhli dispatched a free-kick to the back post, where Lawrence climbed highest to nod past the keeper – a superb start for the 27-year-old Welshman.

Kiel stepped up the pressure as they went in search of an equaliser and they almost got one in the 57th minute when Jae Sung Lee got on the end of a Johannes van den Bergh cross, only for Himmelmann to leap to his left and push away the Korean's header. Three minutes later the Storks carved out another big chance. This time, Janni Serra's shot from just outside the box came back off the inside of the post in a lucky escape for the Boys in Brown.

Luhukay's side refused to buckle, however, and hit back in spectacular fashion a few minutes later. Breaking quickly from defence, Diamantakos sent Conteh on his way with a neat through ball and the young forward wrongfooted Aleksandar Ignjovski before netting with clinical finish. 2-0!  

The visitors threw everything at it in the final quarter of an hour in a bid to rescue a point. They very nearly pulled one back in the 75th minute, but Himmelmann was out quickly to keep out Atanga's close-range effort with his outstretched foot. There was nothing the keeper could do six minutes later, however. Baku cut in from the left and curled an unstoppable shot into the far corner to halve the deficit.

That prompted a furious onslaught from André Schubert's team in the closing stages, but Himmelmann and Co. stood firm to put the seal on the three points and send the Millerntor crowd into raptures.

FC St. Pauli

Himmelmann – Kalla (Lankford 46'), Lawrence, Buballa – Miyaichi, Becker (Hoffmann 67'), Knoll, Penney – Møller Dæhli – Diamantakos, Conteh (Sobota 84')

Head coach: Jos Luhukay


Holstein Kiel

Reimann – Ignjovski, Neumann, Wahl, Van den Bergh – Mühling, Sander (Serra 27') – Lauberbach (Atanga 46', Khelifi 85'), Özcan, Baku – Lee

Head coach: André Schubert


Goals: 1-0 Lawrence (49'), 2-0 Conteh (66'), 2-1 Baku (81')

Yellow cards: Kalla, Miyaichi – Ignjovski, Van den Bergh

Red card (second yellow): Penney (90'+2)

Referee: Markus Schmidt

Attendance: 29,546 (sold out)


Photos: Witters