Match corresponding to the 24th Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Saturday 29th April at 16:30. Match report brought to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank.
Gibraltar United Football Club 0 – 0 Lions Football Club
Gibraltar United Football Club
1 Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin
3 Ashley Perez
5 Jason Pusey
21 Erin Barnett
19 Brad Power
8 Andrew ‘Pishu’ Hernandez
24 Jamie Bosio
15 Aymen Mouehli
6 Dexter Panzavechia
4 Anthony Hernandez
7 Robert Montovio (C)
Evan Green on for Dexter Panzavechia
Paul Podesta on for Robert Montovio
Ashley Rodriguez on for Jamie Bosio
A crucial game in the fight for survival in which 3 points were vital to both teams. Manolo recalled Anthony to the starting line up dropping Evan Green to the bench alongside Ashley Rodriguez who gave up his starting berth to a recovered Jason Pusey.
Gibraltar United showed off its intent from the start and took the game to Lions from the kick off. Conscious of the fact that a win would certainly ease tensions the Red and White players began an intense press of Lions as they tried to get the ball out of their half. This tactic almost provided instant dividends as Robert Montovio was able to capitalise on defensive mistake to find some space on the left. His driven shot on goal sailed over the crossbar. United on the up and Lions somewhat pegged into their half.
The game would continue in the same vein for much of the first half but with little action for either keeper. Lions stopper, Szpilczynski, however was forced into a tremendous save by Anthony Hernandez as the latter dribbled past some static Lions defenders to try and curl one from the D. Alas it was not to be and credit to the Pole in Goal for keeping his team in the game. Lions’ attacking forays were few and far between with Caravaca mostly taking the danger to Chino’s goal. A challenge that he was more that eager to meet with two outstanding saves, most notably one made on the 46th minute when Caravaca tried to lob the onrushing keeper. As Mr Barcelo called time United looked frustrated that they had been unable to pierce the Orange and Blue defence despite dominating both territory and possession.
The second half started pretty much in the same vein but United’s profligacy in front of goal was plain to see. Montovio and Pishu mishit clear and open chances while the keeper did well to save a Pusey header from the corner. As the minutes continued to tick by the nerves were palpable. Green and Podesta were thrown into the fray as Nuñez sought the win. Yet a team launched so forward would always be open to a counter, but Barnett and Power led by the majestic Pusey, were always comfortable at the back.
As is customary, Mr Barcelo would be involved in some contentious decisions during the game. The officials always have a most difficult job to carry out, more so in games of this nature, but there are times when the calls are so clear that one beggars belief. Two penalty incidents dominated the last 15 minutes. First it was Evan Green who was able to get possession in the 6 yard box with his back to goal and only the keeper to beat. Out rushed the keeper who felled Evan with a tackle from behind. The whole stadium knew it was a penalty, even the keeper looked sheepishly at the referee. Well the whole stadium except the man in black who waved for a corner!
A second controversial incident was to follow. An umpteenth United corner led to a cleared header by the the Lions defence. The ball fell to an unmarked Green on the edge of the box who unleashed a sweetly struck volley goalwards. The ball struck Lions’ center half Perez on an outstretched hand that he shook with pain such was the force of the shot. All 22 players froze, United’s celebrating the call somewhat prematurely, as surely Mr Barcelo could not miss this one. The result: play on from the keeper as the referee waved his arms and continued with the game. Unthinkable with cries of ‘Specsavers’ from United supporters in the stands.
The game petered out, despite one last wasted opportunity by Podesta who was easily muscled out of possession. Lions in effect had done a Gib United and weathered the Red and White storm, that despite, two clear penalty claims, suffered from a lack of killer instinct in front of the goal. Yet a third game without defeat but a disappointing result. Our fate is still in our hands with three games to go, Glacis United up next Saturday at 16:15.