Month: May 2016

Season in Review 2015/16

First season back in the Premier Division since the club’s return and the objective was clear; stay in the top flight. The summer had been a very busy one with plenty of transfers in and out. Though we retained the bulk of the promotion clinching squad the board was well aware that an injection of quality was needed. The first signing was perhaps the most important one, Manuel Sanchez Nuñez as manager.

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Manolo is no stranger to Gibraltarian football having had a spell managing College Europa (now Europa FC). He was instrumental in attracting new players into the club and his vast knowledge and experience soon won over new and existing squad players. It was frankly an honour having someone of his experience and with his CV at Gibraltar United and it may be argued that he was crucial in Gib Utd staying in the top flight.

Robert Montovio, ‘Pitu’ Anes, Duane Robba, Jamie Currer and young starlet Byron Espinosa were among the names who signed up in the summer. The #SupportingLocalTalent campaign we had started last year had born its fruit with the club becoming an attractive option to players as we sought the quality needed to stay up.

The opening game way back in September saw us line up against Britannia, who had got promoted the season before as Division 2 champions. A credible 1-1 draw with a debut goal for Montovio gave an indication of the season to come; a tough ask but this team does not know when to lay arms and die! Several incidents in the match however threatened to unhinge our efforts. Mark Casciaro was suspended for 6 games while Lee Buhagiar suffered an injury which subsequently was to indefinitely leave him out of eleven aside football. With the top two next United were in 8th place after 3 games with 1 solitary point on the board. The teams around them (Glacis Utd, Angels FC and Man 62) would be permanent companions for the duration of the season.

The first revelation of the season came in the shape of Brad Power. Locally recognised as a striker the manager saw the potential for a shift of position to the other end of the pitch as a center half. He suffered a very tough baptism of fire vs Lincoln FC but Brad cemented his position in the team through hard work and determination and was rewarded during the season with a call up to the national squad in March and a renewal of his contract with the club. David Gallardo, last year’s flying winger was also reconverted to a centre half and more often than not partnered Brad at the back.

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United did not record their first win of the season until late November when Angel’s FC and Man 62 were defeated in back to back games that did wonders for morale. Robert clearly still had an eye for goal and he was constantly netting for the team in defeat after defeat but the goals tasted better in victory and as we entered December United held their heads above water and Glacis and Angels who were floundering at foot of the table.Yet a lean month meant that the January transfer window was to be key.

A total of 12 players left the club and a similar number drafted in. Perhaps Ashley Perez was to have the biggest impact of the January signings. Signed on a 6 month deal from St Joseph’s he quickly asserted himself as a regular in the team either as a left winger or a left center back. Dexter Panzavechia, signed from Glacis United, also quickly became a fixture in the first XI. Loanee Evan Green also pitched in with important goals. An upturn in fortune saw United gather more points against Glacis United FC and Lions FC. As we climbed positions in the table Britannia began a free fall that was to have dire consequences for them.

No matter how gratifying those results were United never made it easy for themselves. Back to back defeats to Angels FC (who turned up with a new team in January) and Man 62 saw us plummet down to 8th. Another victory over Glacis United, a rearranged fixture from November, kept us afloat. However having to face the top 3 one after the other let the clarets and blues claw back points and positions. They had a resurgence of form post January that saw them gather a substantial number of points against the bigger teams in the league, most notably a 1-0 victory over Europa FC. We lost to St Joseph’s the following day meaning Glacis now had the upper hand.

Once again our character showed through. Wins against Lions, again, and most especially Britannia meant that a new contender joined the basement battle. A contender that had not won in 13 games and was in free fall. Before the curtain closed however the was a break for internationals and four of our squad were called up. A just reward for outstanding performances but more importantly for getting minutes on the pitch they would no get elsewhere. Robert, Brad, Chino and Evan were called up by Mr. Wood for the games versus Liechtenstein and Latvia. Chino has been frankly outstanding this season and his call up was extremely well deserved. His saves had been remarkable and there was a series of one on one saves in our first game versus Angels FC that gave us the three points. Chino and Brad got minutes in a match versus San Roque but Robert played as a sub in both UEFA games at the stadium.

As league action returned United approached the last few games of the season knowing it was still in their hands despite a very damaging 2-0 defeat to Glacis United in late April. Angels had already gone but Britannia had joined us at the foot of the table. Suspensions and injuries were also beginning to take their toll. Kaylan Rumbo proved a godsend to Manolo as he filled in practically every position in the pitch. Chino missed a key game versus Lynx and young Ayden Viñales took the gloves. The 17 year old handled himself brilliantly against a strong Lynx side. A crucial Montovio goal gave us 3 unexpected points at a time when Britannia could not get a win. With St Joseph’s, Angels and Man 62 to come in our last 3 games survival was in our hands.

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Photo courtesy of Correa Photography

The loss to St Joseph’s meant that Glacis United were safe. The relegation spot would be a fight between us and Britannia. Europa FC annihilated them 16-1 the day before we beat Angels 7-1 to make our league spot practically safe for the following season. Lincoln cemented our place by beating Britannia 10-0. We closed our season with a 2-2 draw versus Manchester 62 FC to finish 8th place with a respectable 29 points.

A very hard season but respect needs to go out to these group of 100% local players who have beaten all the odds to stay in the Division. We only failed to beat Lincoln, Europa and St Joseph’s and we have shown we have the ability to fight it out in Gibraltar’s top division. Work has already started in the 2016-17 squad and we cannot wait!

Vi Et Animo, Ad Victoriam!

Games 2015/2016

Date Opposition Venue Match Score Scorers
23/07/2015 UK Academy Castellar Pre Season 1  4 Lopez
26/07/2015 Facinas F.C Facinas Pre Season 1  2 Montovio
06/08/2015 U.D. Casares Casares Pre Season 3  1 Currer, J.Collado, Sean Gilbert
11/08/2015 Mons Calpe FC Victoria Stadium Pre Season 3  2 Montovio, Bosio, Sean Gilbert
20/08/2015 Gibraltar Regiment DTC Pre Season 5  0 Montovio (2), J.Collado, El Andalussi, Trialist
22/08/2015 U.D. Tarifa Lopez Pua Pre Season 1  2 Montovio
08/09/2015 Mons Calpe FC Casares Pre Season 3  3 Montovio (2), Cardona
27/09/2015 FC Britannia XI Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  1 Montovio
29/09/2015 Lions RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 0  3
03/10/2015 Europa FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  2
16/10/2015 Lincoln FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  7
29/10/2015 Bruno’s Magpies RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 8  0 Montovio (5), Bakkari (2), Bosio
01/11/2015 Glacis United FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  0 Montovio
03/11/2015 FC Britannia XI RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 2  1 Montovio (2)
07/11/2015 Lynx FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  3
11/11/2015 Lincoln FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 1  2 Montovio
13/11/2015 St Jospeh’s FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  2
23/11/2015 Angels FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 2  1 Montovio, Anes
25/11/2015 St Jospeh’s FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 2  2 Montovio, Bosio
28/11/2015 Manchester 62 Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  0 Montovio
02/12/2015 Lions FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  3
05/12/2015 FC Britannia XI Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  3 Montovio
11/12/2015 Europa FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  2
21/12/2015 Lincoln FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  6
02/01/2016 Lions FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  0 Montovio
11/01/2016 Glacis United FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 2  1 Montovio, Power
14/01/2015 Mons Calpe SC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 3  0 Cumbo (3)
17/01/2016 Lynx FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  3 Montovio
20/01/2016 Europa FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 7  0 Laguea (3), Gracia, Steven Gilbert, Sean Gilbert, Ailtachen
23/01/2016 St Joseph’s FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  4
06/02/2016 Angels FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  2 Green
08/02/2016 Manchester 62 RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 3  0
10/02/2016 Red Imps FC Victoria Stadium Rock Cup 2nd Round 2  1 C Ellul (2)
14/02/2016 Lynx FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 2  4 Sean Gilbert, Asquez
21/02/2016 Manchester 62 Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  1
28/02/2016 FC Britannia XI Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 2  0 Buhagiar, Green
01/03/2016 Lions FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 2  7 Anes, Currer
05/03/2016 Europa FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  3 Green
12/03/2016 Lincoln FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  4
15/03/2016 Bruno’s Magpies RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 3  1 Montovio, Currer (2)
19/03/2016 Lions FC Victoria Stadium Rock Cup 1/4 Final 0  1
04/04/2016 Lions FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 3  1 Montovio (2), Perez
06/04/2016 FC Britannia XI RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 1  6 Currer
10/04/2016 Glacis United FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 0  2
14/04/2016 Linocln FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 3  8 Laguea (2), Rumbo
16/04/2016 Lynx FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  0 Montovio
19/04/2016 St Joseph’s FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 0  4
24/04/2016 Glacis United FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 1  0 Thomas
29/04/2016 St Joseph’s FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 1  3 Marquez
01/05/2016 Mons Calpe SC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 0  1
05/05/2016 Europa FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 1  3 Sean Gilbert
09/05/2016 Angels FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 7  1 Power, Montovio (4), Currer, Rumbo
14/05/2015 Manchester 62 FC Victoria Stadium Premier Divison 2  2 Perez, Marquez
23/05/2016 Manchester 62 FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 1  2 Steven Gilbert
28/05/2016 Lynx FC RES Victoria Stadium Reserves 3  0

2015-2016 Statistics

Surname Name Premier Reserves Senior Cup Rock Cup Total Goals (all comps)
Aitlachen Aziz 1 4 1 6 1
Anes Pitu 16 7 2 25 2
Asquez Derek 2 7 9 1
Bakkari Abderrahman 6 2 8 2
Borrell Dylan 5 5
Bosio Jamie 7 3 10 2
Buhagiar Lee 1 1
Buhagiar Jared 27 10 1 38 1
Cardona Steffan 7 5 1 13
Casciaro Mark 1 1 2
Catania Jaydan 3 1 1 5
Chipolina Kenneth 5 3 8
Collado Aaron 3 3
Collado Justin 2 1 3
Crisp Shane 1 1
Cumbo Stefan 2 2 3
Currer Jamie 17 7 1 25 3
El Andalussi Naufal 7 5 12
Ellul Carl 5 1 6 2
Ellul Jamie 1 12 13
Espinosa Byron 13 5 18
Gallardo David 16 10 26
Gilbert Sean 14 15 2 31 3
Gilbert Steven 10 7 17 2
Goldwin Kyle 25 3 1 29
Gracia William 2 2 1
Green Evan 9 6 1 16 3
Laguea Thomas 6 6 5
Lopez Adrian 3 7 10
Lopez Andrew 18 3 2 23
Marquez Lython 5 6 11 2
Mascarenhas Sean 2 4 6
Massetti Matthew 1 1
Medina Neal 1 1 2
Montovio Robert 24 5 1 30 25
Neale Liam 2 4 6
Panzavechia Dexter 9 6 2 17
Parker Alan 7 4 11
Perez Ashley 13 5 1 19 2
Power Brad 24 6 2 32 2
Robba Duane 18 5 2 25
Rumbo Kaylan 16 8 1 25 2
Thomas Carl 24 7 2 33 1
Vella Jonathan 8 8
Viñales Ayden 2 6 1 9

Gibraltar United Football Club vs Manchester 62 Football Club

Match corresponding to the 27th Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Saturday 14th May 2016 at 17:00

Gibraltar United Football Club 2 – 2 Manchester 62 Football Club

Perez
Marquez

Gibraltar United Football Club

1  Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin
11 Jared Buhagiar
3  Ashley Perez
19 Brad Power (C)
88 Carl Thomas
6   Dexter Panzavechia
16 Steven Gilbert
24 ‘Pitu’ Anes
90 Jamie Currer
7  Evan Green
9  Lyhton Marquez

SUBSTITUTES

Sean Gilbert on for ‘Pitu’ Anes

Objective achieved. Last week’s win versus Angels FC and Britannia’s loss to Lincoln FC last night meant that United could finish no lower that 8th and we had maintained our position in the top flight. With Robert Montovio serving a ban for an accumulation of yellow cards, it was tasked to Lython Marquez to lead the line against Man 62 in our last match of the season. Both Dexter and Evan return to the starting XI while Ashley Perez retains his position in the centre of defence after excelling there last week. Brad takes the arm band for the last game and United can play with no pressure having achieved the targets set out at the start of the season. Jared makes it 27 games in the league making him our only ever present!

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What a tremendous game of football to see off the season! Both teams had nothing to play for but pride but both teams gave the gathered supporters a tremendous sending off. The game started very brightly for United and they took the game to Man 62 from the kick off. Dexter and Jamie were working the flanks well while Lyhton’s physical presence up front was proving to be a handful for the Man 62 defenders that included Matthew Reoch who was playing his last ever game.

20 mins in and Man 62 took the baton and started to take the game to United but with little danger other than a shot by Navarro which Chino parried away. The first half was coming to an uneventful close when Mikey Yome gave Man 62 the lead. Ashley Perez had deflected a Toncheff shot for a corner. The resulting delivery caught the Untied defence very flat footed. Yome pounced upon this and gave his team the lead a few minutes before Mr. Borg brought the first half to a close.

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Half Time

A similar body blow was suffered a few minutes into the second half when Chino made a hash of a routine pick up to fumble the ball at the feet of Jack Sergeant. The GFA international made no mistake as he buried his shot into the Gib Utd net. Yet this team does not know when to give up. A mere 3 minutes later Ashley Perez rose majestically to meet a beautifully floated Panzavechia corner. With great poise he darted a header past the hapless Man 62 keeper. Ashley chose not to celebrate his goal against a team he had played in for many years but that did not prevent United from clawing a goal back.

The game suddenly sparked into life. Evan Green was tirelessly probing the Man 62 flanks while Pitu kept on trying to find Lython with his passes. The former was soon substituted by Sean Gilbert having received a nasty kick. Sean’s introduction further galvanised United. He moved out to right as Manolo tucked Dexter into the middle of the field. Man 62’s defenders could not with his pace and power as he sped past them at will. Man 62 likewise threw all caution to the wind. Chino made a couple of great saves from Toncheff and Yome as United searched for the equaliser.

It was a great one when it came. Evan Green had won a dangerous free kick on the right edge of the Man 62 area. Dexter, assister extraordinaire in Pitu’s absence today, once again drove a cross of great quality into the box. There it was met by Lython Marquez who cheekily, but with great class, back heeled the ball past Mateo and into the far corner of the net. United had clawed their way back into the game and now had the wind in their sails.

Indeed, despite and Aaron Payas free kick which Chino easily gathered up, it was United who had the clearest chance to win the game. Not before the aforementioned Reoch was given a standing ovation by supporters of both teams as he left the field of play for the last time. The last act of this thrilling game was to fall at the boots of Jamie Currer. Sean had, for the umpteenth time, run in behind the full back. As he broe down on goal he spotted Currer making his run into the box. Squaring the ball it fell to Jamie’s feet right in front of the keeper. Picking his spot he was sure to score, only that Mateo pulled off an impossible save to keep the scores level at 2-2.

So we come to the end of a long and arduous season. Our objective of remaining in the top flight was achieved. Work on the 2016/17 season has already started apace.

Angels Football Club vs Gibraltar United Football Club

Match corresponding to the 26th Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Divison and played on Monday 9th May 2016 at 20:30

Gibraltar United Football Club 7 – 1 Angels Football Club

Power
Montovio (4, 1 Penalty)
Currer
Rumbo

Gibraltar United Football Club

1  Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin
11 Jared Buhagiar
77 Kaylan Rumbo
19 Brad Power
88 Carl Thomas
24 ‘Pitu’ Anes
21 Duane Robba
3  Ashley Perez
90 Jamie Currer
9  Lython Marquez
8  Robert Montovio (C)

SUBSTITUTES

Evan Green on for ‘Pitu’ Anes
Steven Gilbert on for Carl Thomas
James Ellul on for Jared Buhagiar

United come into their most important match of the season on the backs of a 3-1 defeat versus St Joseph’s. Angels on the other hand seem a club in disarray. A massive defeat to Lincoln FC by 13 goals to 1 and adrift at the foot of the table. United know that a win will see them leap-frog Britannia into 8th place and out of the play off places with one game to go. The effort of a season’s worth of hard work hinges on 90 minutes worth of football. Lython Marquez makes his first start for the club after opening his account last week. Ashley goes back into centre defence and Manolo welcomes Pitu back into midfield. The 3 points the clear objective but bearing in mind that Angels are a hurt beast!

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Gib Utd warm up before the match

It was clear from the off that the shackles were off for this game. An attacking trident of Montovio-Currer-Marquez were quick off the mark and taking the game to a rather forlorn looking Angels side. Indeed it only took a few minutes of game time for Robert to try an audacious flick over a defender’s head to set up a volley which narrowly went wide of the post. Jamie Currer was having his best game in the United shirt. His endless running down the wing and his clever runs inside were giving the Angels full back a lot of work to cope with. Likewise Lython on the opposite flank was harassing his marker and generally coming up tops. 20 mintues in and United felt they had a clear shout for a penno. Robert deftly left his defender for dead and skipped into the area. As he hugged the by-line the covering defender closed him down and down he went. Despite the appeals of the crowd referee Mr Parody showed Robert a yellow for simulation.

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A rare picture of Gibraltar United in full attacking formation

The wait for our first goal was not long in waiting though and what a goal it was. Pitu, who once again gave a master class in passing, floated in a peach of a corner that was met full on by GFA international Brad Power. He connected solidly with his head, gave the ball some spin and it thundered into the top corner of the goal. A ‘Sherearesque’ finish that would have pleased Toon Army fan Brad. United’s players celebrated wildly as some of the visible tension was released. United’s football flowed and Robert was guilty of some glaring misses before he opened his account on the stroke of half time. A clever Pitu (who else) ball left Robert with only the keeper to beat and this time there was no mistake. 2-0 and into the dressing room.

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Players and fans celebrate United’s second.

Gibraltar were in no mood to stop in the second half. Jamie Currer scored a well deserved goal as he capped a top notch performance. Though he should have scored earlier his near post finish and subsequent celebration showed what it meant to the club. Clear daylight now between us and, the now, 9th placed Britannia. Manolo was, rather rarely, urging his players forward sensing blood in the air and his players were relishing the opportunity. Yet, as always, the defensive bedrock provides the support the forwards need. Robba and Rumbo were having tremendous games in the middle of the park. So was Ashley Perez in the heart of defence. Kaylan’s very well taken close range goal from an Evan Green cross was well merited. By the time Robert nabbed his second, yet again after more wasteful shooting, the result was put beyond any doubt.

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Robert buries the penalty for his hat trick.

After completing his hat trick from the penalty spot, Robert completed the rout with a classy lob over the advancing Angels keeper to make it 15 for the season, remarkable!! In the interim Carl Thomas came off injured while Angels scored a rather beautiful consolation goal via a sublime long range shot from Cristian Mena. As the game petered off to an end reserves stalwart, James Ellul came on as a substitute. As the referee’s whistle brought proceedings to an end United knew they had risen to 8th place and only an unlikely Britannia win over Lincoln in the last game of the season would see them drop back into the relegation play off position.

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Jubilant United Supporters

A point versus Manchester 62 FC will mathematically see us safe so the focus is on that match. Similarly a victory will see us go onto 31 points, the same total Man 62 have. Whatever the case United had a job to do today and they emphatically responded in all areas of the pitch.

Britannia Woes, United to Capitalise!

The last two games of the season are upon us. As league titles and Champions League places are being decided all around Europe so to are the relegation places in the various leagues. Ours is no different. Having flitted between 9th and 6th this season United face their destiny in the following 180 minutes of football. First up is Angels FC.

Angels came up with United last season taking the Division 2 title to the wire. This year however has been a difficult one for the Angels. Manager changes, ownership upheavals, massive squad overhauls in January has meant there has been little stability surrounding the club. Yet they stand in the way of United’s survival this season.

It seemed for many weeks that Glacis United and Gibraltar United would be fighting for the relegation play-off but the Claret and Blues have pulled themselves out of the mire due to an upturn in form and a surprising victory over Europa FC, making good the 6 points Gibraltar had already taken off them. However as this basement battle was developing Britannia FC were getting into troubles of their own.

A fantastic first round had seen them rubbing shoulders with those teams at the top of the table. However a downturn of form meant a disastrous sequence of results that left them plummeting down the table and suffering a worryingly loss of form. As the gap between them and the teams at the bottom closed opportunities were opening. First it was Man 62 that overtook them, then Glacis leap frogged them last week. Finally, after a disastrous 16-1 defeat against Europa FC they sit one sole point above Gibraltar United with Lincoln FC to play next week. United know that a win, or even a point as we now have a superior goal difference, will put them above Britannia into 8th and out of the relegation places.

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Manolo Sanchez Nuñez has been drilling his troops hard in training and the squad is in very high spirits looking towards this game. They are totally focussed and aware that a banana skin could be placed in our way. With spirit and determination the ultimate objective can be achieved. Kick off is Monday at 20:30.

VI ET ANIMO, AD VICTORIAM