Lynx start the league with a victory
Lynx Football Club started the season with a 5-1 victory against last season’s fourth placed Mons Calpe providing a new impetus to the Gibraltar National League.
Rocked by the demise of three clubs, among which have been last years fifth and sixth placed sides Gibraltar Phoenix and Gibraltar United, the debut of the National League was cast in shadow of doubts on whether it would provide the results the GFA had hoped for.
Both Lynx and Mons Calpe had lived very different summers. The latter had struggled to keep its top players and faced considerable pressure from the GFA and its own players over issues such as unpaid wages from last season. The club, with a new management team and head coach, plus new faces among its squad entered the season describing it as a “new era” in which they considered themselves “stronger and better.” Putting behind its troubles and having resolved some of the issues which had lingered over them during the summer Mons Calpe presented themselves as a fresh face which now had to take on the challenge of meeting the expectations from past season’s successes.
Lynx for its part have gone through the summer with some ease. Holding onto the core of its local based players, the policies of its owners to try and keep the club within its budget and play within its means had attracted enough attention for its squad to be strengthened as they presented themselves as a more stable option in the league.
The match was to provide those watching with a first glimmer of what they could expect. With more home grown players on the field the reduction in quality was overcome by the new ambience the match provided. Something which was also to be seen in the second match of the league. Recognisable players, with recognisable styles and familiar banter from the stands with players made the first match feel more like a Gibraltar football match than had been seen in the past.
Lynx were to start the season on the wrong foot with a misunderstanding between defender Brad Power and goalkeeper Bradley Banda seeing the ball headed into the back of their own net.
This was to be Mons Calpe’s solitary goal. A club who in the previous season had been known for its attacking style was to find it difficult to find a way to goal from then on. Solid defending and a commanding performance by the Lynx keeper keeping Mons forwards at bay.
Lynx was not to wait long to claw back the equaliser. A free kick some distance from the edge of the box and with few expecting it, saw Bautista Martos smash the ball through the top corner for their first goal.
With Marcius up front causing Mons Calpe captain Kevan Castle problems it was not long before Lynx added their second and third goal before half time.
Grabbing control of the match Lynx were running at Mons Calpe’s defence and finding a path to goal. Valdivia finding the back of the net on the twenty fourth minute followed by Badr on the thirty-sixth.
Mons Calpe had their chances. Lynx were finding it difficult to defend dead ball plays such as corners and found themselves at times defending deep. On several occasions a last ditch defence clearing away from the goal mouth.
The match was to see some decent play from both sides. Notably it was also to see opportunities for some of Gibraltar’s upcoming local talents displaying their strengths. The return of Max Cotrell provided Mons Calpe with a new dimension in midfield whilst Jayron Vinet was to show he was more than willing to meet the challenge of senior league football. Kevan Morgan, who came on in the latter part of the second half showing also why many a defender fear the young man. His physicality combined with his quick footed controls sending shock waves through Lynx’s defence who until then had coped well to hold Mons Calpe back.
Lynx were to score two more goals. Valdiva scoring his second on the seventy sixth minute whilst Marcius scored a well deserved goal on the eighty first minute of the match. The Lynx forward having had numerous chances before and creating chances for his team.
The match was also to see Jaydan Parody make his mark for Lynx. His replacement later on, Jesse Victory, changing the way Lynx controlled the ball, A cheeky pass around his marker putting through Marcius for his goal.
The match provided a new excitement on the field which had been missing from local football in recent years. Many watching expressing their satisfaction at seeing a more balanced match with more local players involved.