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Del Rio attracting interest from abroad

One of Lincoln Red Imps’ hottest prospects Julian Del Rio could be leaving the club this summer with the 18-year old attracting interest from Spanish teams.

Julian broke onto the senior scene back in April 2019, scoring in Lincoln’s 2-0 win over Gibraltar United. Three more appearances that same season gave Del Rio a little taste of what is to come for the youngster.

The 2019/20 season was one which Julian took full advantage of with 20 goals in 24 appearances in all competitions. Most notably, Julian scored a hat-trick in Gibraltar U19’s 3-2 over Hong Kong in September 2019.

The interest from Spain follows his trial with UD Las Palmas, any move is expected to be compared to that of Tjay and Jaylan in terms of joining the youth ranks and building his way to the senior side.

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Part Two: Daniel Duarte

Part Two of our three-part series with ex-Lincoln Red Imps and Gibraltar national team captain Daniel Duarte sees us talk about life at Imps, his move to Manchester 62 and more.


1) How did you find the transition from youth to senior football?

Throughout my time at Lincoln, I always found it to be a Club that was good at bringing young talent into their first team. They had an excellent way of doing this: the U16 team often played in the 4th Division with some older players, like Mick McElwee, whilst still playing in the U16 League.

As a junior, I also played alongside senior players; during this time, the Lincoln U16 team managed to win the 4th, 3rd and 2nd Division. I think this was largely down to us getting a lot of experience in playing at a faster pace and making stronger challenges with the seniors. It was, in my opinion, the perfect way of developing a player and essential for the transition from youth to senior football.

2) How was the support towards you whilst breaking into the Lincoln team?

Honestly, I have had unbelievable support at every level whilst playing for Lincoln. For example, whilst playing for the U16 team, I also played for U18s (who were in the 4th Division at the time), where I had the privilege of playing alongside player-manager Mick McElwee. Mick is one of the best players in the Club’s history and in Gibraltar football, and he supports me and every youngster coming up with a lot of patience.

I also played with the Lincoln Wolves reserve team, who were in the 2nd Division. The team was made up of all the Lincoln legends that had retired from the first team – players like Mario Vela, Francis Caruana, Joseph Payas, Adrian Pozo, to name a few. They were all very experienced players, and I learned tremendously from playing alongside them. At the same time, my cousin, Ernest Galliano, as well as Dennis Lopez and Daniel Bonfilio were playing in the first team, and these three helped keep my feet on the ground and my head on my shoulders. I can only thank those players that helped me along the way. A special thanks to my cousin Ernest ‘el Chori’ Galliano for everything he’s done for me all these years and without him, nothing would have been possible.

3) Lincoln dominated football in Gib for many years – how did it feel being part of that squad?

It wasn’t always a dominant side; it took the Club many years to build up an excellent team. In fact, the team played together for at least 5 years before we won our first league, which was back in 2000/2001. This was a special squad; we had players with amazing willpower and, as we like to say in Gib, with AMOR PROPIO, they were players who truly committed to their Club and the sport.

Dominating football for over 14 years is not easy. But being part of the squad was like being part of a family, and playing with family and friends makes everything much easier. It was an amazing feeling knowing that your hard work and your commitment was paying off. The closeness and support felt on the pitch were mirrored off the pitch too, whatever problems we had, personal or professional, we knew that we could always rely on our teammates.

It was a privilege to be part of the squad and something very special to me – not only for dominating football and winning titles but also because I knew that I had the full support of my teammates and managers.

4) What is your favourite memory in a Lincoln shirt?

I couldn’t honestly say what my favourite memory is, but I have a few that are particularly special to me. One of them has to be my debut for the first team, another is my first league title. Another noteworthy moment was playing for Lincoln in the Champions League, where we were the first Gibraltar team to play in the competition.

One other undeniably special memory of being at Lincoln was when we finally achieved our 10th consecutive league title – breaking Glacis United’s record of 9 consecutive wins. As well as being one of my favourite memories, it is also one of Gibraltar’s best memories and I remember lifting the Rock Cup, which was presented to me by the UEFA president, Michel Platini. It was an unforgettable moment!

5) How would the Lincoln sides you’ve been in compare to now?

It’s difficult to compare, especially when you are not involved with the Club. But, as I said before in our conversation for Part One of this series, I feel that back in my day we had much more commitment and put in the hard work. I think that this is what teams nowadays are generally lacking. Don’t get me wrong, some players are very committed, but it’s difficult to get a team of 18 players committed to a Club without any money involved.

Over the past couple of years, there have been several very talented players at the Club, most notably Roy Chipolina and Lee Casciaro. But this is nothing that we didn’t have back in my day. In my opinion, we not only had our Roy and Lee equivalents, but there were also eight or more players with the same quality as Lee and Roy and, due to the strength of the squad, but it was also extremely difficult to select the first 11 players.

6) What was the thinking behind your move to Man62?

Mick McElwee and Stephen Head had left the team and Lincoln was planning to become a more professional set up: this included an increase in the number of weekly training sessions and having to travel to Spain for further training. For 20 years, I was always committed to the Club, but I couldn’t commit to the new level of professionalism the Club wanted from me.

My dream was to play for the national side in a European qualifier, which meant that if I couldn’t commit to Lincoln’s training sessions, I wouldn’t have the same opportunity of playing first-team football and, with no first-team football, it would have been impossible for me to play for the national side. It was a catch-22 situation and we weren’t able to agree on the terms and conditions for my new contract. So I decided to move on to a new challenge and joined Manchester 62 F.C.

I decided to join Man62 for many reasons; first of all, I could commit to the Club’s project and it was easy to reach an agreement over my contract. Man62 has always been a Club that focuses on developing young players – very similar to Lincoln in away. Its squad has a lot of youngsters coming through into the first team, and I’ve always wanted to pass on my experience to local youngsters, just as I had received guidance and support from my seniors when I was a junior.

Signing for Man62 also meant that I could play one more season at my highest level: it was up to me to perform and impress in order to achieve my dream of playing at a European qualifier. Whilst at Man62, I managed to make this dream come true and I will be always grateful to Clive Lopez, John Charles Camilleri and David Ochello for giving me the confidence and opportunity to represent Man62 in my last football season.

7) How would you sum up your time at Lincoln?

It is impossible, to sum up, 20 years of my life in one interview. To cut a long story short, I’ve had a very successful career on the pitch, winning many titles and even breaking a record! There have been good and bad days; it’s been an emotional journey, a journey where I’ve met some great people, as well as others that have let me down. But, I have a positive way of thinking and like to focus on the positive parts of my time at Lincoln. This saying, I think, really sums up my experience:
There are friends, there are family, and then there are friends that become family.

8) Who was the toughest opponent you ever came across in the league?

Probably Glacis United, they always had excellent players like Kevin De Los Santos, Keith Laguea, Al Greene, Dylan Moreno, Aaron Payas, Peter Moreno and many others. It is a club with an extra level motivation, especially in defending its record of 9 consecutive league wins. Glacis United was a very tough team; a very difficult team to beat and we always had to perform at a high level to win against them.

9) Was there a teammate who you would always want to play with, but never against?

The first name that comes to mind is the legend, Lee Casciaro. I don’t need to explain what Lee does on a football pitch, his reputation speaks for itself and we have seen through the years the talent that he has. But Lincoln, as I’ve said before, has always had impressive players – players that humiliate you at training with ease, such as Roy Chipolina, Brian Perez, Robert Guiling, Pitu Anes, Dwayne Robba, Christian Sanchez, Graham Alvez and many others. In my opinion, the hardest games played were always when we trained together – on a good day anyone could be your worst nightmare.

10) How would the old Lincoln fare in today’s league?

It’s difficult to compare; we had a very talented team with very little resources and broke every single record in Gibraltar football history, and we did this with only hard work and commitment. With that hard work and commitment as well as the resources that teams in Gibraltar have nowadays, I would like to think that my old team would definitely be challenging for the league title and playing for the national side.

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Lincoln sign Gibraltar international Scott Wiseman

Lincoln Red Imps have this afternoon announced the signing of Salford City and Gibraltar defender Scott Wiseman on a two-year deal.

Photo (C) Rough and Ready

Wiseman, who has played his whole career in England, joins Lincoln on a two-year deal after leaving Salford on a free transfer after the termination of the English League Two season.

The 34-year-old, who can play at right-back or centre-back, has 10 caps for Gibraltar, but hasn’t featured since a 6-0 defeat to Belgium back in 2016 – however, Wiseman, talking to the official Lincoln website, said: “Earlier this year I would have been playing for the national side again”, presumably referring to the cancelled March international friendlies against Malta and Liechtenstein. His return would give another option, and one with vast experience, to Julio Ribas side ahead of the upcoming Nations League.

Wiseman, on Lincoln’s official site, continued by saying: “I’m absolutely delighted to finally get things signed. After having countless conversations with the club about coming over, it was an easy decision for myself and my family to make.” With nearly 500 appearances in English football, from the National League to the Championship, the defender will add a lot of experience to the Lincoln team for the upcoming season.

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Gibraltar National League Championship Group Review

With only four games remaining, the Gibraltar FA called off the league making it null and void. The European spots were handed out but no league winner announced. Here is our early review of the Championship Group.

Europa FC – 1st

While not being crowned champions has clearly left a very bitter taste in the mouths of all at Europa, they should no doubt still be happy at how their season went until the point of the league being terminated. From their opening week, eye-catching 4-1 win against Lincoln, Europa went on to be virtually unstoppable in the league, bar for a dramatic 2-2 draw against St Joseph’s in September which they were lucky not to lose.

They were of course expected to challenge for the title strongly, but few would have perhaps expected them to be unbeaten – past Europa sides have had a habit of very avoidable defeats that have cost them in the league dearly, but this Europa side, even when going behind in games, never looked like losing 99% of the time.

The emergence of Dayle Coleing in goal was a major plus for Rafael Escobar’s side, while the signing of Juampe from Balona was an inspired addition to a team who have never had trouble scoring. The plan for next season will be to try and maintain those levels, with St Joseph’s and Lincoln likely to be champing at the bit hoping to bring Europa down a peg or two.


St Joseph’s – 2nd

After years of coming so close in breaking the top two’s league dominance, Saints finally reached their potential this season. Sitting in second, five points behind Europa and five points in front of Lincoln with four games remaining.

Overall their season exceeded expectations – their Europa League campaign was memorable, came within minutes of beating Europa but would draw 2-2 in the final minute and did the league double of Lincoln.

The most important bit for Procopio and his men is to keep the same momentum and consistency going into whenever football restarts in Gibraltar.


Lincoln Red Imps – 3rd

For a team who have for so many years been the all-conquering, dominant force of local football, a third-place finish for Lincoln is disappointing – in fact, it is the first season they haven’t finished in the top two since the 1999/2000 season, where they finished fourth in a six-team league.

While they continued to beat the teams below them, normally with some ease, Lincoln came unstuck against both Europa and St Joseph’s, losing all four meetings against their title rivals. This saw their title hopes drift away in February, but there were some positive signs for the club, most notably the emergence of Julian Del Rio into the first team.

Next seasons aim for Lincoln has to be to appoint the right manager, after German Crespo’s departure earlier this week, and try to keep them in charge for a longer period than their last few managers – they have the squad, especially in attack, to challenge for titles, but stability is key if Lincoln wants to climb back on top of local football once again.


Lynx FC – 4th

Lynx was another team that started the season great, a 4th place finish is their highest since the 2014-15 season. Their three Croatians Hrvoje Bukvic, Ed Kokorovic, and Marko Marcius would play a big role in round one of the Gibraltar National League. Their departure would leave a big hole in the team and the results would show it with two wins from six games.

It has been a positive season for them though, Jaydan Parody has shown potential this season and Mohamed Badr has made the Gibraltar national team.


Brunos Magpies – 5th

Round one of the National League saw Magpies achieve their top half aims, albeit it was far less comfortable than expected, and saw the departure of David Wilson as manager, a move which proved unpopular among Magpies fanbase and seemed to hurt their attendances and atmosphere for a while after. They weren’t then helped by Alfonso Cortijo joining, only to leave for a job in China two months later, but he at least ensured they finished in the top six before the split.

Magpies issue seemed to be in beating the teams above them, with only a solitary cup win vs Lynx to their name vs the top four, so 5th place is a deserved finished, and perhaps around where the club would have hoped to finish, despite significant investment in both the summer and in January. Tight battles with St Joseph’s just before the league ended showed some hope they can battle with the big boys, presuming they don’t chop and change the squad too much this summer.


Lions Gibraltar – 6th

You can’t judge Lions’ season from their results in the Championship Group, with their financial resources not as strong as the others – the team itself knew what they were getting themselves into with a sixth-placed finish.

Lions did put in cracking performances in the Group and were unlucky not to get points on a couple of occasions. Looking at it from an overall perspective, Albert Ferri and his team showed great promise and that they don’t need to play so defensively to gain results.

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Chipolina: “Not the recovery we expected”

We spoke to Joseph Chipolina about his recovery from injury, a review of Lincoln’s season and more.

Just before the GNL took a break for Christmas, Joseph Chipolina suffered an injury in Lincoln’s 2-0 win over Manchester 62. We asked the 32-year old how his recovery has gone, “Not the recovery we expected as we have had a little setback. I will need some manipulation and little surgery clean up as my knee won’t bend as it should. But all in all still doing what I can and building the quads up.”

With Covid bringing a halt to football in Gibraltar, we asked Joseph what he is doing during these tough times – “I am training 2 times a day one at lunchtime and one just before dinner time roughly at 19:45. I can’t really do cardio so what I am doing are workouts which I can do with my knee as it is.”

Before Covid brought a halt to the GNL – Lincoln were third, five points behind St Joseph’s in second, ten points behind rivals Europa in first and in the Gibtelecom Cup semi-final. Joseph reviewed his side’s season, “It hasn’t been the best of seasons but these things happen in football. Too many changes within the club etc but always for the best of the club, but all in all it is what it is and another year where we learn as a club and move on for our next challenge together as one.”

Nearly six months on from Gibraltar’s Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, which ended in a defeat to Switzerland at the Victoria Stadium, Joseph reviewed Gibraltar’s campaign – “I think we did quite well on some games; maybe on others we could have done better but that all comes down to us players maintaining our A-game all throughout the games. Lack of concentration is what is letting us down but we have improved vastly since the arrival of Julio Ribas who is an amazing coach and person.”

Lastly, we asked Joseph about any goals he has set for himself – “At this moment in time my goals are to try and play football again. My injury was a very harsh one, I had my ACL torn into bits, had my ICL torn 60%, had Both Interior and Exterior Meniscus torn, and my patellar dislocated, aggravating the patellar tendon. So my goal is to get as fit as I can and try to make it back on the field and keep doing what I most enjoy and love.”

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Torrilla: “I look forward to repaying them in the future”

We spoke to 22-year old midfielder Graeme Torrilla about his injury, new club Lincoln Red Imps and more.

Nine months on from his operation which has kept him out of football for just over one year, we asked Graeme how his rehabilitation is going – “Rehabilitation is going well but took a while to get going as in the previous club, I was never given the full support or facilities required to recover from such a big injury.”

Recovering from injuries is never easy and with Covid-19 bringing a halt to everything worldwide – we asked him how he is keeping active during these tough times, “I was reaching the final stages of my rehab just before quarantine began. Mainly pitch work, which is something I’m unable to do now. I’m mainly sticking to exercises at home & going for a jog or bicycle ride to remain as active as possible.”

Graeme joined Lincoln Red Imps from Mons Calpe this January, a big move for a promising talent – the 22-year old told us how the club is playing a big part in his comeback, “Lincoln has not only offered me the facilities needed but also their full support in allowing me to take the time I need to get back on the pitch when fully recovered. I look forward to repaying them in the future.”

Lastly, we asked Graeme what his goals are when he returns to full fitness – “For starters, I want to get back to the level I was at before my injury which will take time having been out for so long. Then from there just aim as high as possible to perform at my best at club level & hopefully at international level if given the chance.”

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Lincoln Red Imps – Where are they now?

We take a look at that famous Lincoln Red Imps team from the 2013/14 season which dominated local football for so many years, qualified the Imps for the first year of Champions League football and find out where they are now.


Goalkeepers

  • Jordan Perez – Jordan would leave Lincoln at the end of that season, joining Lions before making a move to St Joseph’s. After taking a break from football, Perez joined Second Division side FC Olympique in 2017 for a season. The keeper played seven times for Boca this season before hanging up his boots – he also represented Gibraltar in beach volleyball at the 2019 Island Games.
  • Dayle Coleing – Dayle would remain at Lincoln as the number 2 for a couple more years, before spells at Manchester 62 and Gib Phoenix locally, and Thackley and Liversedge while in England. In 2018, Coleing went on to join Europa and has since established himself as their number one keeper, as well as making four appearances for the Gibraltar national side since his debut vs Denmark in September 2018.
  • Mark Moxham – Moxham has made his name known more among futsal followers, where he has represented Gibraltar on numerous occasions in recent seasons. The 36-year-old currently plays for Europa FC Futsal, who are second in the league and is their first-choice keeper.

Defenders

  • Neal Medina – Neal made the bench for Lincoln’s debut in the Champions League and would stay on at the club for a further 3 years before leaving for Gibraltar United – injuries would continue to plague his career with limited appearances since leaving. The 32-year old is now playing Futsal for Lynx FC.
  • Ryan Casciaro – In the Summer of 2018, Ryan would call time on his playing days at Lincoln after nearly three decades of playing for the club. The 35-year old would go on to join St Joseph’s but injuries have seen the experienced defender only make 4 appearances this season, compared to his 21 from the campaign before.
  • Garry Turner-Bone – Garry would stay on for a further two years before departing for FC Olympique. After leaving in 2016, Garry would return to Gibraltar football in 2018 to Magpies, then joined Manchester 62 for a brief spell before returning to Magpies to take on a coaching role and play for the club’s reserve side.
  • Jean Carlos Garcia – After playing his youth career in Spain with Zabal and Linense, JC would make the transition to Gibraltar at 21 years old to join Lincoln. The defender would make the right-back position his for 5 years before being loaned out to Gib Phoenix in January 2019 then make a permanent move to Magpies in August 2019.
  • Tarik Chrayeh – After making the bench for Lincoln’s first-ever Champions League game and then make an appearance off the bench in 2015, Tarik would go on to join their B team in Red Imps a couple of years later. Moves to Lions, St Joseph’s and Leo would sum up his next few years. The defender currently plays for Europa Point and St Joseph’s in Futsal.
  • Roy Chipolina – One of the few last men still remaining in the current Lincoln squad. After passing of the torch from then captain Daniel Duarte, Roy still remains captain to this day and has led his side to numerous Cup glories. At 37, Roy is still a huge asset for club and country but injuries are proving to be a nuisance.
  • Mark Ballester – At 18 years old, Mark would gain valuable experience from the team which he would put into his displays for Gibraltar at Under 19 level. The now 25-year old is currently without a team.
  • Sean Lopez – After joining from Lynx in 2013. A Strong-running left-back had a great debut season but picked up a serious knee injury in the last league game of the 2014 season and hasn’t played senior football since.
  • Alain Pons – Alain joined Lincoln from Taraguilla at 17 years old. Alain would play in the second leg of Lincoln’s UCL defeat to HB Torshavn before leaving the club for his university studies. The 24-year old secured a move to St Joseph’s last summer, in a bid to earn himself a starting spot in Julio Ribas’ national team.
  • Lee Graham – After playing a pivotal role for Lincoln in the 2013/14 season, Lee would follow Garry to FC Olympique in 2015 before joining Britannia after their promotion. After the club folded, Lee returned to Olympique for two more seasons before switching football for Futsal where he currently plays for the Expendables in the second division.

Midfielders

  • Daniel Duarte – The captain of this all-conquering side, Duarte would represent Lincoln until 2015, when he moved to Manchester 62, before retiring the following summer. Duarte, who became captain of the national team at the age of 26, picked up 116 caps before Gibraltar joined UEFA, and 5 caps in the UEFA era for the national side – he would have earned many more UEFA caps had UEFA membership arrived earlier than 2013, that is for certain.
  • Liam Clarke – Before leaving Lincoln in 2015 and joining Manchester 62 – Liam will be known for his last-gasp winner in the 2014 Gibraltarian Rock Cup final victory over College Europa. Clarke would later go on to also play for Boca until 2018, and like some of his teammates now focuses on futsal, where he is currently at South United. The 32-year old recently made his MMA debut also.
  • Mark Casciaro – Casciaro remained at Lincoln until January 2015, where he moved on to join Gibraltar United, and late Manchester 62, before retiring from football in 2017. Casciaro has also made his name in hockey for the Gibraltar national side, showing his multi-sporting talents. Apart from hockey, Mark currently plays Futsal for South United.
  • Pitu Anes – Pitu remained with Lincoln until the summer of 2015, where he left for Gibraltar United – after spells there, notably including a cracking goal vs Angels. After the purchase of Gib Utd by Pablo Dana & Michel Salgado, Pitu would leave the club at the end of the season and join Second Division side Leo FC for a brief spell before retiring from football in 2018.
  • Aaron Payas – Payas left Lincoln in 2014 to join Manchester 62, who he played for three seasons until taking a career break in 2017. He returned in 2018 and had spells at Europa last season, and Brunos Magpies this season, but is currently without a club.
  • Joseph Chipolina – One of the few still at the club now, Joseph was used in the midfield in this title-winning side but is now seen at left-back or centre-back for club and country. Chipolina’s importance for Lincoln and Gib is still massive, and his biggest moment came in October 2018 when he scored the winning goal against both Armenia and Liechtenstein in consecutive Nations League matches.
  • Sean Duarte – A ball-playing, technical player capable of breaking down defences in limited spaces and the final third. Many injuries meant his chances of first team football were limited. Sean currently plays Futsal for Spartans FC.
  • Robert Guiling – In 2014, Guiling would make the move from Lincoln to Lynx – he would be a key part of the side that ended Lincoln’s 88-game unbeaten run as he scored in the 1-0 victory for Lynx. The midfielder remained at Lynx until 2018 and hasn’t played, since suffering a serious knee injury in November 2017. Robert now plays for Eagles HC (hockey).
  • Brian Perez – Perez remained at Lincoln until 2015, and like some of his teammates then had a spell at Manchester 62, until 2017. The midfielder returned to football at the start of the season, joining Brunos Magpies, and despite the two-year absence, shows the qualities that made him so highly rated for many years in local football circles.
  • Duane Robba – Robba was at the later years of his career in this team, and became something of a journeyman, dotting around the league for various clubs, including a couple of appearances for Gib United in 2017. At 44, Robba is now retired from football, but he has represented the national team on numerous occasions in futsal.

Attackers

  • Kyle Casciaro – The youngest Casciaro brother would remain at Lincoln until 2018, leaving on loan to Olympique. A permanent move to St Joseph’s would follow in 2019, before returning to Imps in January 2020.
  • Alan Parker – Alan would leave the Imps for Gibraltar United in 2015, then joined various clubs and is currently at Lions. With appearances for Gibraltar’s U19 & 21 – the 23-year old is a regular figure for Gibraltar’s Futsal senior team and a huge asset for both South United and the national team.
  • Michael Yome – After joining Lincoln from Zabal in 2011, Mikey would remain at the club until 2014 before leaving for university. Juggling his uni life with his club, meant a move to Manchester 62 came about in 2016. A few months later, Mikey would spend one more year away before joining Europa in 2017 where he still plays to this day.
  • John Paul Duarte – JP would play nearly a decade at the Imps, finishing top goalscorer that year with Lee missing out through injury. Moves to Manchester 62 and St Joseph’s followed before settling for Brunos Magpies.
  • George Cabrera – After playing most of his youth days in Spain, Cabrera would join Lincoln in 2012 from Algeciras. Goals came easy for 24-year old (at the time) and still remains at the club but a serious injury in 2017 has made getting back to full-fitness difficult.
  • Lee Casciaro – A Lincoln legend – what else can you really say about Lee? Unplayable for the majority of his career, still playing regularly for club and country at the age of 38. Will they ever make another one like him?
  • Graham Alvez – A lifelong Lincoln player – Graham played previously in squads which had the likes of current club president Dylan Viagas. Graham had it all as a player and hung up his boots in 2014. He would go on to coach the likes of Jaylan Hankins, Ethan Britto, and Tjay De Barr.

Photo by GibSport

Goalkeeper Jordan Perez had this to say about playing in that Lincoln team – “Playing in that team it felt like home to be honest especially after most of us were playing together for over 10 years of triumphant league wins. Unfortunately, once the money came in it all changed drastically. Many players who had given endless years of commitment to the club were just treated poorly and simply left or were pushed aside. It was a shame because we were like a family and I believe that team would have defeated any other upcoming team with players from abroad for several more years.”

Captain Daniel Duarte spoke about how it felt captaining the team, “I was extremely proud and honoured to wear the captains’ armband, not only on that day, but in every single game I played. It was more than a football team it was truly a family on and off the pitch.”

Head coach Mick McElwee gave an insight into managing that Lincoln squad, “That year (2014) was tricky. We had a load of long term injuries where players missed half or all of the season; including a number of new signings which we needed to get settled and playing as soon as possible. Then we had a shortened season which did not help us as we started the league poorly with 2 draws. Early on we struggled with our form. Individuals playing well but not clicking as a team. So that created some nervous team performances.”

He added, “We adopted a 4-3-3 with Liam (Clarke), Daniel (Duarte) and Joseph (Chipolina) usually playing a tight midfield 3 and JP (Duarte), George (Cabrera) and Kyle (Casciaro) playing as a very wide front 3.Once we got that formation sorted we started to really play some good stuff – managing the team was so simple. Literally filling in the team sheet and letting them play. Stephen Head and I had to work hard to keep the players who were not in the first XI motivated enough to come into the team and make a difference.”

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Casciaro: “Coming back home is always an easy decision to make”

FG caught up with Lincoln Red Imps attacker Kyle Casciaro about his return to Lincoln, his performances so far and more.

Photo © Neil Wilson/Lincoln Red Imps

Casciaro returned to Lincoln in the January transfer window after spending the first half of the season at St Joseph’s – how easy was it for him to return? “Home will always be home. Even if you try new challenges, coming back home (Lincoln) is always an easy decision to make.”

The 32-year-old has played in each of Lincoln’s last five games, scoring three times in the process – how well does Casciaro feel he has done since coming back? “I have been training hard since I came back to Lincoln. Full month of training without playing to get back fit. When I got my chance, I believe I have done very good for the team.”

Lincoln are in the semi-finals of the Gibtelecom Rock Cup, where they will face Casciaro’s old team St Joseph’s – does the attacker feel his side can win the cup? “We do have what it takes to win the cup. Now we are training and playing better as a team. We have had many changes during these months or year which doesn’t help but i feel now we have improved, and winning results show this.”

Finally, we asked Casciaro, who has 24 caps and one goal for Gib in the UEFA era, what his goals were in 2020: “I would like to be playing every game and help Lincoln as much as I can to win trophies. Gibraltar National squad, who knows in the near future if I carry on playing well”

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Gibtelecom Rock Cup quarter-final review

The Gibtelecom Rock Cup quarter-finals brought no surprises as Mons Calpe, St Joseph’s, Europa and Lincoln Red Imps progress into the next round.


Mons Calpe 3-1 Europa Point

Mons rushed into an early two-goal lead against Europa Point, with Diego Diaz and Andre Dos Santos scoring in the first ten minutes before things settled down a bit more.

Europa Point was out of the traps early in the second half and got a goal back thanks to Diego Vera’s header, but their chances of a comeback were ended after Samuel Vermeeren’s own goal, and captain Antony Moulds late red card.

Mons is the only Challenge Group team left in the cup, and while they are now rank outsiders, they will look to make the cup final for the second time in three years.


St Joseph’s 1-0 Brunos Magpies

If last weekend’s encounter was anything to go by, we expected a fiery contest and certainly got it. With the level of football being played below par, both teams didn’t hide away from any strong challenges.

Juanfri scored from the penalty spot to send 10-man Saints, who had Angel Guirado sent off, into the semi-final since 2017 but it was the altercation after the final whistle which was the main focal point.

An altercation between Kelvin Morgan and Juanma Gonzalez spurred on a brawl between both teams which took quite some time to calm down – a situation which you’d believe the Gibraltar FA will investigate further.


Europa 2-0 Lions

The Rock Cup holders went safely through to the semi-finals thanks to goals from Fernando Velasco and Manuel Dimas. The Green found it tough to break the well-organised Lions defence, an improvement from their 7-0 defeat last weekend.

Europa will need to be much better for Saturday when they come up against St Joseph’s – a doubt for that match could be Olmo who came off early with a suspected groin injury.


Lincoln 6-0 Boca

As expected, Lincoln beat Boca, by a score of 6-0 on Sunday afternoon. Boca made them work for it, but Pibe’s brace and Jamie Coombes first-half goal meant at the break the game was all but done.

Boca gave Lincoln a slight scare in winning a penalty, but they missed from 12 yards, and that led to Lincoln making sure there was to be no hint of a comeback – Oli, Gato, and Blas Alvarez all scored in the second half to put an end to a spirited Boca side, who before the game may have been fearing a bigger scoreline.

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Llambias: “It has been a joy to play with each and every single player”

We caught up with Lincoln Red Imps U23 captain Ethan Thorne-Llambias to get his thoughts on securing the Intermediate league title earlier this week, his goals for the remainder of the year and more.

Lincoln clinched the title on Monday with a 2-1 win over Lions thanks to goals from Kyron McGrail and Ellis Wilson – we asked Ethan how it feels to be Champions, “It’s always an amazing feeling as we’ve worked hard to get to this moment. We have a great feeling of accomplishment and feel as if we have everything ahead of us and we can only get better.”

The Imps hold an impressive record in the Intermediate League winning 15 from 16 games and drawing 1 – Ethan reviewed his team’s season so far, “To be completely honest I would say that we have had a brilliant season, but obviously there is still more that me and the team can improve on as a whole. We have not always played our best football but we have always got the results. We can always learn and improve on our game as a team and as individuals, in saying this I believe that better things are to come.”

With an average age of just 16 years old from their win over Lions, Ethan is one of the more senior players and captain of the team – we asked him what he thinks of the young players coming up the ranks, “It has been a joy to play with each and every single player as they all offer something different. They are all hard-working and work for the team rather for themselves which is everything you need and want. They have impressed me and I think we could see a few players as individuals being outstanding if they carry on doing what they are doing now.”

With the first piece of silverware wrapped up in March – we asked Ethan what other goals he has set out for himself in 2020, “Firstly to improve as a player whether that be technically, physically, mentally, etc. Secondly I want to show to all my coaches what I can bring/offer and keep working hard to get opportunities and lastly to set an example for younger footballers in Gibraltar, showing them that if you work hard enough and really want something, there is nothing that can stop you from achieving it.”