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Liam Walker wins it for Europa

An early goal by Liam Walker secured Europa a 1-0 win over their rivals Lincoln and sealed his side the Pepe Reyes Memorial Cup for a second consecutive season.

Lincoln with Kike, Lee Casciaro and George Cabrera all injured which left Victor Afonso starting their newly signed striker Idelino Gomes while Chino was given a surprise debut ahead of first choice keeper Lolo Soler.

Europa started life without Tjay De Barr with Dayle Coleing, Ethan Jolley, Jayce Olivero and Captain Liam Walker starting while Rafa Escobar handed debuts to Juampe, Adrian Gallardo, Sergio Sanchez, Marco Rosa and Fernando Velasco.

We only had to wait four minutes for the first goal as Juampe dribbled past Joseph Chipolina and played a low ball towards Liam Walker, whose shot from 25-yards left Chino rooted to the spot, giving the holders Europa a 1-0 lead.

Lincoln came battling back and debutant Blas Alvarez’s deflected shot nearly found its way into the bottom corner but went out for a corner which Dayle Coleing caught superbly. Juampe was having fun on the right hand side, continuously finding himself in a good attacking position but his final ball was swept up by the Lincoln defence.

Anthony Hernandez played a good through ball to Gato whose shot from a tight angle went wide. Shortly after Gato found himself behind Jayce Olivero again and fired a low shot towards goal which Coleing got a strong hand to it to keep it out.

The game evened out and the first half ended with Europa leading 1-0 courtesy of Liam Walker.

The second half got underway with Lincoln on the front-foot and a mix-up at the back nearly led to an equaliser but Gomes was unable to capitalise and Jayce Olivero cleared the danger at the backpost.

Juampe’s continued to be cause the Lincoln defence problems, his pace proved too much for Roy Chipolina and his pass found Adrian Gallardo whose first time shot went just over the crossbar. Europa nearly doubled their lead in the 53rd minute as Velasco’s shot took a deflection off Roy Chipolina and rolled inches wide of the post.

Dayle Coleing was slow to react to Sergio Molina’s shot from range which hit the post, Lincoln appealed to what looked like to be a certain corner but the referee awarded a goal-kick. Around 15 minutes to go and trailing 1-0, Lincoln brought on Jamie Coombes to replace Sergio Molina while Europa swapped out their strikers with Manu Dimas coming on for Adrian Gallardo.

A few minutes later, Ethan Britto replaced Roy Chipolina with Joseph Chipolina receiving the captain’s armband and moving into the centre of defence.

Europa kept their nerve for the remainder of the game and walked away with the first piece of silverware of the season, beating Lincoln 1-0.

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