players

Season in Review

30th June is a marked day in many football calendars around the world as it sees the end of one season and the start of another with many contracts traditionally finishing on this date. As such it is fitting that we post our 2016/17 season review today as the football world begins to turn its attention to the 2017/18 season.

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United moved fast and quick in the heady days of the summer of 2016 to secure several marquee signings. GFA regular Jamie Bosio joined from Lincoln FC after completing his studies and he was joined by the Hernandez brothers from Man 62. Jason Pusey, Paul Podesta, Ashley Rodriguez, Aymen Mouehli, Erin Barnett Dani Wink and Jesse Victory all signed for the club in a bid to challenge for a place higher up in the league.

A mixed preseason saw an inconsistent run of results as Manolo gelled in so many new faces into the squad. So many new players in key positions meant that there was an unfamiliarity and lack of chemistry that takes time to foster. Yet as is his want, the manager drilled the squad hard in preseason to have them ready for a late September kick off against Manchester 62.

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United’s first game of the 16/17 Season

Robert Montvio promised to carry on where he had left off the previous year by netting a brace that earned United a point when perhaps they should have got three. After one game the league took its first hiatus for International Football and Jeff Wood called up a number of United players and its also provided an opportunity for new players to gel with their new team mates. Games against recently crowned European Champions Portugal and the first FIFA World Cup Qualifiers for Gibraltar followed.

The league continued mid October with United facing tough opposition in champions Lincoln, 3rd placed St Joseph’s and in Mons Calpe the surprise package of the season. 3 defeats left us 7th hovering above Europa Point, Lions and Lynx FC. Our first win of the season came against the latter with yet another Montovio goal. United had showed great maturity in their play and the results against Lincoln in particular showed the progress made.

United were dealt a major injury blow early in the season when defensive stalwart, Brad Power, succumbed to a major injury that was to leave him out of the game for a long time. Jason Pusey stepped into the breach and became the defensive rock Manolo built his defence. Erin Barnett was his constant companion flanked by Pishu and Perez. A dour 0-0 draw against Lions FC augured what was to come however.

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Robert in action vs Lincoln Red Imps

The Red and Whites next tasted ‘victory’ in a forfeited match in early December but broke off for the Christmas with a tremendous morale booster of a 3-1 win over Man 62 in which Paul Podesta scored a spectacular long range effort to seal the win. The Red and Whites however entered a very negative spiral of results that threatened to unhinge the whole season.

In a run of 12 matches from January to April, United garnered two points and went 6 games without scoring as the dependable John Wayne (aka Robert Montovio) found that his powder had gone somewhat dry. A 93rd minute loss to basement club Europa Point saw United at their lowest ebb as the spectre of relegation loomed large. January had also seen club stalwarts Jared Buhagiar and Carl Thomas leave the club, they had a combined appearance total of 125 and would now don the claret and blue of Glacis United. EL Andalussi and Marquez were transferred to Mons Calpe while evergreen Robba resigned for the club alongside Paul Grech.

Gibraltar United also showed that it was committed to its civic duties when it supported a charity initiative by Stuart Felice and joined him for his Dip a Day on a cold, wet but fun March afternoon at Camp Bay.

April 2017 however brought the most momentous news in the Club’s recent history. News broke that former Real Madrid and Spain international Michel Salgado, alongside Dubai based banker Pablo Dana, had bought the club. There was an immediate stir of excitement, not only among United supporters, as Michel Salgado landed on the Rock on the 4th April 2017 to announce not only his purchase of the club but also a partnership with Turicum Private Bank as the club’s main sponsor. Michel met all the teams in the Youth Division as well as the Senior squad. Morale was on the up and the effect was immediately felt on the field.

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United had rediscovered their form. A battling point against St Joseph’s was followed by two more draws and a much needed victory against Glacis United that pulled United away from the relegation places and into safety. Both Hernandez brothers scored against Glacis United with Pishu showing a composure beyond his years to seal the win very late on. Despite a catastrophic result against Europa FC, United saw the season out in 7th place, an improvement on last season and with solid foundations being laid for a more promising 2017/18 season as the Salgado era began.

The club finished the season with a massive recruitment drive and held youth trials at the stadium for over 130 young  players and held a charity Gala night in which £5,000 was raised for the Calpe House trust. Club legend Adolfo Ramriez was named the Club’s Life Honorary President. Oh yes and just the small matter of a World Cup and Champions League Winner, Brazil legend called Roberto Carlos being the club’s guest of honour!

 

Vi et Animo, Ad Victoriam!

Gibraltar United FC vs Europa Point Football Club

Match corresponding to the 27th round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Monday 22nd May at 20:30. Match report is brought to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank, thanks for your support!

Turicum Logo 2016, white on blue background, two lines - 2 June 2016

Gibraltar United Football Club 2 – 2 Europa Point Football Club

Montovio
Hernandez

Gibraltar United Football Club

1   Ashley Perez
17 Kaylan Rumbo
5   Jason Pusey
19 Brad Power
8   Andrew ‘Pishu’ Hernandez
15 Aymen Mouelhi
26 Ashley Rodriguez
23 Jesse Victory
9   Evan Green
4   Anthony Hernandez
7   Robert Montovio (C)

SUBSTITUTES

Erin Barnett on for Brad Power
Paul Grech on for Ashley Rodriguez
Jamie Currer on for Evan Green

The last game of the season sees us already safe as Man 62’s last results have meant that United are safe and the former are resigned to have to play the playoff. An unusual line in up in the usual left back was in goal covering for the injured Chino. Jesse Victory comes into the line up in place of Paul Podesta while Kaylan Rumbo covers at left back.

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There was definitely an end of season feel to the game during its early stages. United safe in the league and Europa Point already relegated. The early exchanges saw United keeping possession as Europa Point’s youngsters tried to engage in a pressing game that would force United into a mistake. In a snapshot of what our season has been like United were very solid at the back but lacking the creative spark to make a chance that would break the deadlock.

As it was Perez was the first ‘keeper’ that was called into action as he easily gathered up a shot from Dannoun. United’s only real chance of the game came from header from Pusey that flew harmlessly wide. Nothing much more to report and supporters were hoping for a more entertaining match in the second half.

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It was a MUCH more entertaining match no doubt in the second half. Three Red and White chances came in quick succession. A Jesse Victory through ball found Robert only to find an excellent Hankins in goal be the equal of the effort. A few minutes later an excellent cross into the box by Rodriguez was an inch away from Montovio’s extended toe. Thirdly Anthony was put clear by a defensive mistake only to once again be thwarted by an excellent hand from Hankins. The teenage keeper has been Europa Point’s highlight of the season since his loan move from Lincoln and his future certainly looks bright.

Europa Point took the lead amidst all this United dominance. Golpe was given the freedom of the Victoria Stadium by the United team to travel deep into the United half and unleash a powerful shot from distance that Perez could not stop from trickling into the net. The passivity of United’s tackling in the middle of the park had meant that the opposing player was allowed to the edge of the box unhindered.

As is customary United fought back ferociously and Europa Point’s lead was short lived with Robert finally finding the net after an assist from substitute Paul Grech, playing against his former team. The solid Hankins was finally beaten and United were now looking to put the game to bed. Anthony was once again foiled by Hankins and as the game petered to a close it entered its most frantic stage.

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First it was Europa Point that took a surprise lead for a second time in a very similar fashion to the first goal. The lack of tackling anywhere near Ethan Britto allowed the youngster to approach the area unopposed and once again beat Perez from distance. United players looked shocked, but not as shocked as supporters in the stands who could not believe what they were seeing. 3 minutes later United scored after Anthony was finally able to out fox both defenders and his nemesis Hankins to nestle the ball into the corner of the net to bring the score to 2-2.

Europa Point had the last say of the game as they had the ball in the net again at the death only for the ref, Mr Gilbert, to initially give the ball and then after some consultation with his assistants flag it off for offside. The controversy was followed by a number of bookings and a final whistle that brought an end to this most arduous of seasons.

Though a full season review will follow shortly it has been a long 27 game season that sees United improve one position on last year finishing on 7th.

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The Premier League final standings.

The players and staff enjoyed a well earned pizza and beer break in the changing rooms as attention now turns to Under 21 and Full Internationals as well as what promises to be an exciting pre-season as the transfer window opens in matter of weeks.

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A massive thank you goes to our sponsors, supporters, technical staff and of course the players that have given their all for 27 games and over 11 months of a long, hard season. Enjoy the Summer and we will be back soon!

Vi et Animo, Ad Victoriam

Europa Football Club vs Gibraltar United Football Club

Match corresponding to the 26th Round of the Gibrltarian Premier Division and played on Friday 12th May at 20:30. Match report comes to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank

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Gibraltar United Football Club 0 – 7 Europa Football Club

Gibraltar United Football Club

1   Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (C)
3   Ashley Perez
5   Jason Pusey
19 Brad Power
21 Erin Barnett
8   Andrew ‘Pishu’ Hernandez
26 Ashley Rodriguez
15 Aymen Mouelhi
9   Evan Green
14 Paul Podesta
4   Anthony Hernandez

SUBSTITUTIONS

Jamie Currer on for Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin
Robert Montovio on for Anthony Hernandez

Following last weeks morale booster of a win against Glacis United, the Red and Whites faced title challengers Europa FC. With Jamie Boiso out for the season Ashley Rodriguez joined Aymen in midfield in what proved to be the only change in the line up vis a vis last week. Now doubt a very tough 90 minutes ahead, that were soon going to be made even tougher.

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Credit goes to Chris Correa and Correa Photography for all the photos used in toady’s write up.

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Line up

United were well aware of the task ahead of them in this penultimate game of the season. Our earlier games against Europa FC has seen tenacious rearguard performances that resulted in respectable score lines and decent team performances and for about 10 minutes United were able to be in a game that also had supreme importance for Europa and their title aspirations.

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Pishu in amongst it in the opening exchanges.

Double disaster struck on the tenth minute. Europa FC opened the scoring via a Toscano goal that Chino tried desperately to keep out. As Mr Warwick indicated for play to resume the keeper stayed on the ground wincing in pain and motioning for help; he was clearly in pain and some distress. Medical staff from both teams, including the GFA doctor, rushed onto the pitch amid calls for an ambulance. It took a while to stabilise Chino’s shoulder but the prognosis was not a good one, a suspected dislocated shoulder. An injury to Dani Wink meant that Ashley Perez had to go into goal, something he already did early in the season against the same opposition.

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Our thoughts are with Chino.

Europa, as expected, dominated the game from this point on and a deluge of goals followed. Credit however needs to go to the team and the stand in keeper that did pitch in with several good saves of note. At no time did Red and White heads drop or at no time did the fight leave the team as they worked doubly hard to ensure Ashley had the necessary protection.

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Perez in goal!

United were to also have several chances, two in particular with the score at 2-0. First Anthony had a goal disallowed for offside, a close call if ever there was one. Currer drifted in a ball from the left that Anthony buried with certain aplomb only for the officials to have it chalked off. Aymen followed up soon after with a miss from close range. A goal was the least this team deserved as they faced adversity against perhaps the best drilled and organised team in Gibraltar.

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Anthony had a goal disallowed for offside.

Attention now turns to the season defining game against Europa Point on the 22nd May. United know a win means we are safe, though events may conspire between now and kick off that might ensure our safety without having to kick a ball in anger as Man 62 play both their remaining games before we do. Ultimately our fate rests in our hands and the players are well up for the fight. The final say in this report is a tale of two keepers. Firstly thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery go to Chino, and total respect goes to Ashley Perez who stepped into the breach in the most Shakespearean of ways!

Gibraltar United Football Club vs Glacis United Football Club

Match corresponding to the 25th Round of the Gibraltarian Premier League and played on Saturday 6th May 2017 at 18:15. Match report brought to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank.

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Gibraltar United Football Club 2 – 1 Glacis United Football Club

Hernandez, Anthony
Hernandez, Andrew ‘Pishu’

Gibraltar United Football Club

1   Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (C)
6   Dexter Panzavechia
19 Brad Power
5   Jason Pusey
21 Erin Barnett
8   Andrew ‘Pishu’ Hernandez
24 Jamie Bosio
15 Aymen Mouelhi
9   Evan Green
14 Paul Podesta
4   Anthony Hernandez

SUBSTITUTES

Ashley Rodriguez on for Evan Green
Kaylan Rumbo on for Paul Podesta
Robert Montovio on for Anthony Hernandez

United come into the match with the sour taste of a 0-0 draw vs Lions last time out that should have been three points. Our opponents today, Glacis United, have transformed themselves from relegation candidates last year to sitting snugly in 4th this time around. Former United player Jared Buhagiar lined up against us while Manolo made several changes too. Robert dropped to the bench with both Podesta and Green flanking Anthony on point. An injury to Ashley Perez meant that Dexter had to cover at left back. Chino took the armband for this transcendental game.

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The three points at stake today are vital for the basement battle currently going on. United were conscious that a win would take us above Lions on goal difference and 4 points clear of Man 62 in 9th. Glacis would be no pushovers though and have proven to be a resilient and tough team to beat this season, a recent 3-3 draw against Lincoln testament to this.

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1…2…3 GIBRALTAR!

United kicked off in the May sunshine and immediately sought quick balls out to the flanks to Podesta and Green who tried to make spaces for Anthony to attack. Though there was little early action United looked calm and composed, though at times holding a high line at the back. Bosio and Aymen were relishing the midfield battle with the latter in particular once again having a great match and demonstrating the rich vein of form he is currently in. Glacis were resorting to balls over the top looking to exploit the pace of their pacy wingers Ferrer and Llaves; their frustrations at constantly being caught offside earned them bookings for dissent.

The opening goal came after a period of Red and White dominance of the ball. We had been knocking at the door once or twice in the minutes previous to the goal. Pishu found himself with the ball after a cleared ball with only rushing keeper to beat. Setting himself he lobbed the ball over the keeper only for it to be cleared for corner on the goal line. Jamie Bosio struck the ball goalwards, with the keeper beaten it required another goal line clearance to keep Glacis in the game. 5 minutes later however United got the lead they so deserved.

Aymen, majestic and imperious in the middle of the park, stole possession from a plodding Glacis player and played a delightful ball over the Glacis defence. Anthony, ever the predator, was hovering in the space between the centre halves, deftly controlled the ball with his chest and calmly slotted the ball past the keeper. United 1-0 up and deservedly so. Thanks to Vanessa Correa for the video.

As Glacis sought to equalise United began to catch them on the counter. In one such move the right back, Pineda, had to resort to a pulling Anthony back as he ghosted past him. Referee, Mr Murphy, had no choice but to show him a second yellow card (the first he got for kicking the ball away) and send him off despite the vocal protestations of the Glacis bench. In a following counter attack some excellent pressure from Podesta forced the keeper into an error, Anthony proved rather wasteful as he blasted the ball wide. In the last action before the ref called time, Anthony once again with the chance but this time the keeper kept him out with an excellent save. United ascendant in this first half and deservedly so.

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The teams walk off at half time.

The game resumed for the second 45 with United safe in the knowledge that a similar performance would mean 3 points. However this second half was to be rather controversial with three red cards being dished out by the ref. The first one was a double red for the Glacis keeper and Dexter who came head to head over a challenge. Mr Murphy sent Dexter off and the Glacis keeper also got his marching orders following some afters with United players. Glacis now with 9 players, United with 10. The football prevalent in the first half seemed to have lost its role to play acting and cynical fouls across the pitch

As a result Ashley Rodriguez came on for Green as the game had taken on a more physical slant. United however could not capitalise on their numerical advantage. Anthony again proved profligate missing a golden chance to bring the game to bed missing a one on one with the keeper. It was not long after that Glacis were down to 8 men as skipper Leo Pereyra saw a second yellow to also end up early in the showers. Surely now United had the three points. Double disaster however soon struck.

Jamie Bosio collapsed in a heap after a challenge and from the off it did not look good. He was on the floor for a while and was eventually taken to hospital by an ambulance. Worrying scenes for both sets of players to see a colleague leave the pitch in those circumstances. It later came to light that Jamie suffers from a fractured elbow, speedy recovery Jamie. To add insult to injury Glacis United equalised soon after following a needless free kick. Indeed, it felt more like a physical kick! Was fortune once again going to play its fickle games with us?

Not if Pishu Hernandz had anything to do with it. A few minutes had passed from the equaliser when Aymen, with his second assist of the game fed Pishu. I shall let the video do the talking;

The poise and clam this young man showed in front of the goal belied his years. Indeed a footballing gem in the making. The fight left the Glacis players despite a huge 7 minutes of added time. The result was like manna from heaven for United but it also meant that St Joseph’s mathematically qualified for the UEFA Europa League next season by cementing the 3rd place in the league. For United it meant breathing space between us and Man 62 and leap frogging Lions into 7th place with 2 two games to go. Morale was up and the players are already looking forward to locking horns with Europa FC this coming Friday.

 

Lions Football Club vs Gibraltar United Football Club

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.

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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)

SUBSTITUTES

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.

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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.

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The ref calls time on the game.

Seniors!

Michel was also keen to meet the senior squad and staff. He was introduced to First Team Manager, Manolo Sanchez Nuñez; Assistant Manager, Javier Sanchez Alfaro; Physio, Gavin Viñales; Coach, Chris Currer and goalkeeping coach Edgar Harrison.

Captain Robert Montovio also introduced Michel to every player in the squad and Michel also directed several words to the players extolling the virtues of sacrifice, dedication, hard work and effort.

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Senior squad, staff and club officials.

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Skipper Montovio introduces the squad.