It took 65 minutes for Europa to break the deadlock, but they eventually went on to beat a resilient, stubborn Lynx side 3-0 yesterday afternoon.
Photo (C) David Roberts
Before the game, the absence of Liam Walker from the Europa 18-man squad for the first time in a league game since April 2019 only added to the growing rumours about the Europa captain’s future at the club – Jack Breed came in to the side for his league debut while Juampe took the armband. For Lynx, Bradley Avellano, on loan from Lincoln, continued in goal while Bradley Banda recovers from a hamstring injury.
The first half was a fairly flat affair, with Europa trying to break down Lynx but missing that spark that could have unlocked their defence. They could have had an early penalty, but Marco Rosa was adjudged to have dived in the box despite some sort of contact being clear to hear from the stands – the midfielder was booked. Soon after, Breed whipped in a good cross which Mikey Yome headed towards goal, but Avellano stood firm and made a good save to deny the Europa winger.
Lynx were resolute defensively but were not overly testing Europa’s defence, meaning most of the traffic, despite how slow it was at times, was one-way – Adrian Gallardo twice had the ball in the net only for the offside flag to be raised, while Niels Hartman made a superb last-ditch tackle when Juampe looked certain to go on and score.
Europa continued to huff and puff into the second half, and after 65 minutes they finally broke Lynx’s resistance, when Marco Rosa was set up by Juampe – and the midfielder who had earlier been booked finished in off the post to put Europa ahead. Soon after, Europa keeper Christian Lopez was finally called into action, making a one-handed save to deny Jesse Victory from equalising for Lynx. With 15 minutes to go, Lynx had handball appeals in the box turned down, but it would be two Europa subs who would add some gloss to the final scoreline.
Chico Diaz received a long ball over the Lynx defence and fired it in from close range moments before injury time, before Leon Clinton, on his league debut for the club, absolutely rocketed in an effort from 25 to 30 yards out to secure a 3-0 win – the scoreline itself was harsh on Lynx who battled hard all game, but the result was a fair one on the balance of things.
Europa: Lopez; Jolley (Alvarez, 80), Breed, Olmo, Juampe, Gallardo (Borge, 80), Yome (Clinton, 57), Badr, Carrascal, Rosa (Diaz, 72), Juanlu (Polaco, 80)
Unused Subs: Romero, Ayew
Lynx: B. Avellano; Serra (Victory, 58), Power, Hartman, Hernandez (Valdivia, 58), Parody (Huart, 67), Torres (Parkinson, 85), Espinosa, Valarino, Santos (Caravaca, 46), Morente
Unused Subs: Navarro, T. Avellano
Yellow Cards: Rosa; Torres, Parkinson
Red Cards: None