Match corresponding to the 24th Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Saturday 16th April at 19:30
Gibraltar United Football Club 1 – 0 Lynx Football Club
Gibraltar United Football Club
31 Ayden Viñales
11 Jared Buhagiar
30 David Gallardo
19 Brad Power
77 Kaylan Rumbo
88 Carl Thomas
3 Ashley Perez
24 ‘Pitu’ Anes
21 Duane Robba
90 Jamie Currer
8 Robert Montovio (C)
Steven Gilbert on for ‘Pitu’ Anes
Lyhton Marquez on for Robert Montovio
United come into this game on the backs of a very costly defeat to Glacis United last time out. Not only was ground lost but Chino and Steven Gilbert were sent off. Though the latter was back in contention after serving a one match ban the former was given a longer suspension which meant young Viñales made his first start in a Premier League match. With Steffan Cardona out injured it meant a recall for Jamie Currer and a shift to a 5 man midfield. Carl Thomas returns after serving a two match ban for accumulation of yellows. Looking towards the bench it was gratifying to see attacking talent returning from injury in the shape of Byron Espinosa and Lython Marquez. 3 points a must today to capitalise on Glacis’ loss to Lions last night.
The match started brightly enough with both teams eager to gain possession and try to be productive with it. With Kaylan playing in midfield, Pitu and Duane had more space and time on the ball to be more creative than usual but the nerves coming into the match were palpable from the start. Lynx, and total credit to their playing and management staff, were clear in their determination to win the game from the off. It is a great advert for the integrity of the competition that despite having nothing to play for Lynx, its players and its staff were here to give United a game. Indeed having taken 6 points off us earlier in the season they were out for the full house. Bosnian Akrapovic and Egytptian winger Hassan carrying most of their earlier danger. But without Doxagarat they lacked a killer edge, and their attacks were well dealt with by Brad and a resurgent Gallardo in defence.
Whenever they got through young Ayden was equal to the task with several saves and good interventions keeping our goal safe. United were getting spells of possession and were taking the game to young Robert Rae in the Lynx goal. Robert Montovio had two chances in the first half which went wide. Jamie Currer was also getting in behind the full backs on the right while Ashley Perez was likewise getting in on the left but just like Ayden, Rae was equal to the task. A very gratifying sight to see young and up and coming young local goalkeeping talent getting games in the Premier Division.
As the first half whittled to an end United could be happy of putting in an improved performance compared to the Glacis game and justly proud of taking the game to a very consistent side firmly anchored in the top half of the table. The sizeable United crows were just as happy as they clapped their players off the field urging them to keep on fighting and trying in the second half.
Whatever chat Manolo had with his troops at half time seemed to have an effect. We were out early onto the field and quick off the starting blocks too and this seemed to have caught Lynx unaware. We dominated possession for the first 10 minutes of the half and fruit of our good play came in the 54th minute of the game. Gunslinger Robert Montovio capitalised on some good work by Currer on the right wing and weaselled his way into the area. From the tightest of angles he thundered a shot in past the flying Robert Rae and into the back of the net. The crowd and the subs bench went wild with delirium knowing the importance of this goal. It was his 11th strike in 22 league appearances, a remarkable ratio! Albert Parody responded quickly by throwing on Doxagarat onto the field of play, Lynx wanted to get back into the game!
United almost went two up a few minutes later. It was John Wayne himself who created the chance as he sent in a hard low shot from the edge of the D. Credit to Rae in the Yellow and Black goal who pulled off a tremendous save. The ricochet fell to Pitu who was certain to score as the keeper was still down after his save. His shot whistled past the post as he crumpled to the floor having pulled something as he struck the ball. Steven Gilbert was quick on the pitch to replace him and in a total contrast to his last time out he anchored the midfield alongside Kaylan and put in several crunching and timely tackles to keep Lynx out.
Indeed the whole team was putting in the performance of the season. Viñales was showing a composure that belied his age while Gallardo and Brad were dealing with any aerial threat comfortably. Robba was giving a master class in midfield while Jared and Ashley complemented each other perfectly on the left wing while Jamie was supporting Carl on the right. Kaylan in particular was everywhere and has become one of Manolo’s fire fighter’s, happy to plug a gap anywhere on the field of play. Yet Lynx carry a lot of danger and no one could afford to drop their concentration as the game approached its end.
Robert pulled up in the 80th minute chasing a long ball. Lyhton Marquez was thrown into the fray and immediately began to harrass the Lynx playmakers as United’s defensive unit began with the forward. That said we got in behind a number of times but were not able to perforate the goal again. As Mr Reoch brought proceedings to a close United’s players celebrated wildly as the ground so costly lost last week was regained through sweat and hard graft today.
We once again draw level with Glacis United on 25 points and are one point behind Britannia. While our direct rivals all dropped points this weekend Gibraltar United pulled off an unexpected result meaning that the fight for survival is well and truly on. With 3 games to go the goal is clear! St Joseph’s FC are our next rivals on Friday 29th April at 20:30! The fight goes on!
Vi et Animo, Ad Victoriam