The battle for the top gets tougher
The decision to split the league after the first round might have seen some critics, however, as we near the final matches of the first round, the decision has once again brought about some additional excitement for afficionados, with the battle for the top six seeing some tough battles and new emerging forces coming into play.
Last week saw Lynx, who last season struggled and ended in the Challenge group division after the first round, look to dig deep to secure their place in the top six.
Although having had a good run this first part of the season Lynx had as yet not secured their place and still risked being overtaken unless they got the necessary results.
Lynx drew down their battlelines in the first of their final two matches when they faced Europa Point knowing that nothing better than a significant win was enough.
Not only where they are looking for the points, but also the goal difference that would set them up to stay in the top six with a chance for European football.
Three goals in the first half, with a 14th minute start from Gallardo Aragon ensured that Lynx started their final bid for the top six in a good way.
With sixteen points secured their next match against Glacis United will now be irrelevant with respect to their place within the top six, although they will need to secure points.
With all the points from round one being carried into the next round, dropping points will not only see them widen the gap with the top three, but could also see Glacis close the gap with them if the latter were to secure their place in the top six as well.
Securing Lynx’s place in the top six did not however, secure the continuation of Salas, their Sports technical Director who saw him part ways with Lynx earlier in the week.
The announcement of his departure came through a social media post by Salas which left many questions as to what had happened behind the scenes. This, however, not affecting the team’s performance on the field as they set of on a big win against lowly Europa Point.
The latter also proved to be a good opponent from which to gather goal difference for Glacis United on Wednesday night.
Glacis, who arrived at their match having just beaten St Joseph days earlier and closed the gap at the top whilst showing the signs of tiredness from a hectic week of football managed to put four past Europa Point.
A hattrick from Terziqi secured the win for Glacis United who will need at least one point against Lynx to secure their place in the top six if Lions were to grab all six points available to them.
The four goals against Europa Point had already given Glacis the goal difference advantage coming into their last match against Lynx, with their head-to-head against Lions already playing its part with their win against Lions looking all the more important.
For Glacis United, securing a place in the top six will be of significant importance since the arrival of Bernie Brinkman into the club.
Building a squad from the bottom up the former Dutch professional has developed a squad with names such as Thorne-Llambias, Leon Clinton, Joseph Chipolina and the likes of Burnet, Terzqui and Domanico who have provided a competitive edge to the team. Glacis now seen as serious contenders within the top six, if they can secure their place. Seen as a team who could be competing for that third spot in the league even though they have dropped crucial points in the first round.
In other matches these past days where the league will see continuous football up until the 21st of December, Bruno Magpies stamped their place in the top three with a convincing 4-0 victory against College 1975.
The green and whites of College 1975 will be looking at competing in the Challenge group division sitting at the foot of the table with just three points to their name.
Unable to find the form and flow in their game which would provide them with the points, even against some of the low tier clubs in the league College 1975 will see their position at the foot of the table as a failure in their objectives.
The team can, however, walk away from the first round of the competition knowing that they have grabbed the attention of many with their very young talented squad having provided some positives which has seen many looking at them as an emerging side into the future.
Bruno Magpies, once bitter rivals of College 1975 in the then second division, have themselves set about into a very different route which has already seen them experience European club competition football.
Following on their success last season, Bruno Magpies is bidding to not only be among the top three but have done enough to maintain themselves within touching distance of the top three taking over the position once held by St Joseph.
Six wins and a draw from eight matches means that they sat just six points away from the top two before their encounter against Lions on Thursday (result and match report in Monday’s edition).
The transformation of Bruno Magpies since the arrival of Nathan Rooney has already seen them as serious contenders for the title.
Bruno’s will be aiming to stake their claim towards a challenge for the title when they face Lincoln Red Imps this Sunday.
Possibly the biggest of the final matches of the first round, the Lincoln Red Imps V Bruno Magpies match should set the stadium alight in what could be a cup final style match. Set to kick off at noon, with the world cup final on the same day, the match will be the biggest test Bruno’s face since the start of the season when they faced Europa in their first match.
That first match of the season was the first indicator from the black and whites of their intent as they walked away with a 1-1 draw and feeling that they had dropped points.
Their victory against St Joseph’s just a few weeks later confirmed their presence in the top ranks of Gibraltar football league and has since seen them battling at the top producing consistent results, albeit some with some concerns over the focus of the team throughout matches.
With the likes of Jamie Coombes, Pibe, Ayew, Bent, Kyle Casciaro and Hankins Bruno Magpies have become one of the teams to watch out for.
The fact they have been able to have players such as Peacock, Bayode and Ocran on the bench continues to show their strength in depth.
Although having come away with victory over eternal rivals Europa and joint in points at the top Lincoln Red Imps can ill-afford to drop their guard against Bruno Magpies. when they face each other with the prospect of a three-way battle for the title now looking likely as Nathan Rooney’s side continues to create the type of ripples across the league which has kept the excitement going.