In their latest friendly against English opposition, Gibraltar managed to grab a 2-1 victory over nPower League One side Bury.
The game, which saw a decent crowd of both home supporters, as well as travelling Bury fans (probably at least 100 of them making the trip to Gib) was the first senior game of 2012 for Gibraltar, and followed the under 21’s losing 2-1 to Cambridge University AFC.
The bury side, although not full strength, with players such as David Amoo, and top scorer Andy Bishop sitting the game out due to injury concerns, was still of decent quality, and they took the lead after 11 minutes. Lennell John-Lewis, who has scored 3 goals in his last 7 competitive games, finished rather comfortably after an impressive attack from the Shakers.
This seemed to signal the path that the game was heading on, but it only took Gib 5 minutes to equalise, albeit due a slight bit of fortune. A mix up in the Bury defence left Lee Casciaro with a one-on-one opportunity, and he deftly lobbed Bury keeper Cameron Belford to get Gib back on terms.
From here on, both teams carried on the second half intent on getting back in front, and had Gib been a bit luckier, they could have seen the half out in front. The same could have been said of Bury, who had a number of attacks, but most of them came to little.
The second half was a notably duller affair, with Bury making a host of substitutions to keep players fresh and to give fringe players important game time. Most notable of these subs was their substitute keeper, the 20 year old Ritchie Branagan, who from the off never looked confident in goal. Twice in the second half he misplaced easy passes to Gibraltarian strikers, and had it not been for a bit of good defending and a fair bit of poor finishing, Gibraltar could have seen the game off fairly comfortably. Nevertheless, with the game nearing an end, Gibraltar would get the goal to secure the match.
More unconvincing defending led to Lee Casciaro having an opportunity in the box, until Branagan took him down to give away a penalty. The penalty was probably a fair decision, as was the decision not to give Branagan a card, and the penalty was subsequently slotted away by Aaron Payas * to seal the victory for Gibraltar.
To the credit of the travelling support, they were loud for most of the game, and generally seemed jovial (the alcohol consumption from the Bury fans inside the ground definitely improved on the overall atmosphere, and didn’t cause any trouble) They’ll most likely enjoy their weekend away, despite the result, and look forward to the second half of the season, where they currently sit in 10th place, 7 points off the playoffs with a game in hand.
Edit* Turns out Ritchie Branagan did play the full 90 yesterday, which surprises me considering he was fairly solid in the first half, then the complete opposite in the second half.