Gibraltar U19 unfortunate not to come away with more in narrow defeat to Armenia
Gibraltar's Under 19s were unfortunate not to come away with more after taking the game to Armenia and ending with the narrowest it defeats.
Gibraltar’s were on the back foot from early on when Armenia struck their first goal in the first five minutes.
Stuck defending consecutive corners for the next four minutes Gibraltar finally pulled away but Wilson and Cawthorne found themselves swamped immediately by a chasing defence.
Regaining possession Armenia piled the pressure. Keeper Victor was to collect well from a free kick given away easily by Gibraltar’s defence as Armenia came back to threaten his goal mouth on the quarter of an hour.
Regaining possession on the half way line Gibraltar’s young players started to put together a string of short passes which saw calls of “remember you can play football.” Momentarily the urgency and long kicks ceased as the under 19s started to move the ball around when in possession.
This took them to the edge of the Armenia penalty box where Wilson had a shot blocked.
Confidence seemed to grow halting momentarily Armenia’s offence and saw them reaching their opponents box with some effective short passing. The Under 19s bringing the balance of the match to an equal par on the field where Armenia became more attentive in keeping players back to defend.
Gibraltar’s confidence to play the ball and look to advance earned Armenia a yellow after a harsh tackle as Gibraltar broke down the wing on the twentieth minute. Unfortunately the free kick swung into the area was well cleared and saw play taken to the other end with Gibraltar defending deep again.
Armenia within moments found themselves defending deep themselves as Gibraltar’s under 19 again stepped forward and searched for a pathway to goal. Armenia tightening at the back closing down.
On the 27th a searching cross nearly found Wilson on the run to goal Armenia hurriedly clearing out for throw in before Gibraltar came back at them again.
The match went end to end as it’s neared the half hour mark.
After those early moments of nervous at the start Gibraltar’s under 19s were putting in a performance where they proved they were not there to defend whilst their opponents went to claim the points.
Instead their efforts saw them taking the game to Armenia although the upper hand in possession fell for their opponents.
Victors timely save past the half hour stopped a clear chance for Armenia who now struggled to threaten his goal.
Gibraltar sunk back towards the latter part of the first half. The defence keepings it’s formation and closing down well left Armenia with just options to shoot from distance.
A good stop by Victor on the fortieth minute kept Gibraltar’s options still open. He was to deal with several more shots from distance before the end of the half as Armenia looked at extending their lead before half time.
A fabulous save on the 44th minute saving what looked like a sure goal and pushing to corner.
Gibraltar were forced to dig deep in defence in the early moments of the second half as Armenia came out on full throttle earning three corners within the first five minutes and forcing a handful of blocks.
Living dangerously in the final third Gibraltar conceded a free kick at the edge of the box on the 51st minute. This earned them a yellow after the wall came out too soon and Armenia had a second attempt smashed against the wall who stood resolutely.
The game came to a pause after an injury to the Gibraltar goalkeeper giving them a breather.
Armenia kept up the momentum with the Gibraltar Under 19s struggling to break forward.
On the hour mark Gibraltar found itself in Armenia’s half after two consecutive harsh challenges by Armenian players on Gibraltar’s players earned them yellows.
A free kick on the right side of the penalty box was unfortunately wasted with a low cross ending at the feet of Armenia’s defence.
Gibraltar did regain possession soon after and tried to go forward but again found themselves chasing but with a man on the ground hurt as the challenges kept coming in.
With twenty minutes to go Gibraltar had managed to keep Armenia at bay and were now frustrating them as it became evident that the match was anyone’s to win still.
With confidence now showing with the match still at 1-0 for Armenia Gibraltar started to force the game further looking to find a way for an equaliser. Armenia now starting to look less offensive as they struggled to find a route into danger areas.
The final twenty minutes were a tense affair with every ball being fought over as both sides looked to gain ground on the other. Gibraltar looking to find a pathway or a break towards a chance to equalise. It was Armenia who were initially getting closer. Their defence stopping the surges from Cawthorne who was finding himself alone at times upfront as Gibraltar defence closed at the back to prevent Armenia from extending they lead.
Injury forced a further change with just ten minutes left of the match.
Gibraltar came close when a free kick close to half way line saw ball swung into the box and ending with an attempt at goal. The ball flying high over the bar unfortunately. Gibraltar started to press hug and stealing inside Armenia’s half another attempt came in with six minutes left but going wide off the post this time.
With the Gibraltar bench calling on their players for just a little more effort the Gibraltar boys dug in deep.
Armenia came close to extending their lead with four minutes left but the final shot hurried and put wide.
Gibraltar were unable to get close to Armenia’s goal in those final minutes as Armenia kept possession well and were quickly regaining possession when they lost the ball. Although not really causing much concern with Gibraltar equally closing them down well.
The 1-0 defeat will, however be seen as a very positive result where Gibraltar had the opportunity to have come away with something and took the game to Armenia at times with confidence.