Lincoln moved eight points clear at the top, but they didn’t have it easy as they beat Britannia 1-0.
Lincoln beat Glacis 6-1 in the day’s early kick off, while St Joseph’s and Britannia shared a point apiece in an entertaining 1-1 draw, as Gameweek 4 of the Gibraltar Premier Division continued at the Victoria Stadium.
The Imps scored twice in the first half hour through a pair of Gibraltar internationals, as Roy Chipolina’s header, and a Kyle Casciaro penalty.
Lee Casciaro made it three soon after the break, before Carrasco got a goal back for Glacis, their first of the season after four games. There was to be no comeback though, as further goals from George Cabrera, Yeray Patino Blasco and Guido Abayian ensured Lincoln regained their spot on top of the league, after Europa’s victory last night against Lynx.
For Glacis, they have conceded six for a second week in a row, and will stay bottom of the Premier Division for another week unless Angels were to lose by eight goals against Manchester in the only top division game tomorrow.
The evening game promised to be a much tighter affair, with Britannia especially looking much improved from last season. Anyone who turned up late to the game though would have missed the most important parts of the game, as both teams scored within the first ten minutes.
Saints went 1-0 up in the first minute, with Jorge Torres finishing past Louie Barnfather. Britannia, who strengthened wisely over the summer and look like a handy side, equalised six minutes later through Yeray Jimenez.
Britannia player-manager Alan Arruda can thank keeper Barnfather for ensuring his side left the game with a point, after his excellent stop late on denied Saints three more points which would have seen them keep up the pace with Lincoln and Europa at the top of the league.
For Britannia though, their point leaves them in fifth place with five points, only four less than they took in 21 games last season. If they keep up this level of performance, they should not have to worry about relegation this season.
With the Premier Division this weekend, we caught up with Britannia President James Watson to gather his thoughts ahead of the upcoming season:
1) Reflect on how last season went (what you achieved, what you didn’t, any big talking points etc..)
Last season was a learning curb for the club. It was our first exposure into the top league, and despite feeling prepared last September, we soon discovered there is no rest bite in the top division, and if you don’t perform, you can be in serious trouble. January was certainly the turning point, and revitalising the team with new management and players did the club a world of good. We played much more positive football, and focused on our game, not our opponents. This helped us achieve a good cup run and despite not picking up as many points as we could’ve (being ahead in 4 matches but ended up losing), we showed the club was ambitious enough to compete, avoided the wooden spoon against a fully established brand that is Lions, so there were many positives to take into this season.
2) How has pre-season has gone
Pre-season has been eye opening. We met so many promising local talents, but unfortunately, the Gibraltar market is an unbalanced one and disappointingly, we couldn’t match what other clubs were offering. With our international ties through our coaches, we were able to attract players from all over the world for trials, and they came in droves. But as we’ve always stood by, the glove has to fit. You have to be the right mould as a talent, and a person. Its critical you strike a healthy balance. We’ve played about 10 friendlies, from Portugal, Granada, Malaga, Marbella and Gibraltar – we’ve learnt many lessons along the way, but are shaping up nicely.
3) How does the team look going into the new season? Any new signings, players to look out for and especially players which have left
Ability wise, we are very confident and ambitious with the coming season. We have an exceptional coach who is striving to get the best out of players, allowing them to express themselves and enjoy playing as part of this team. With so many new players, the biggest test, as most clubs will experience, is how quickly they can gel. We’ve got many new signings, and many players we are very excited about! We’ve lost some Britannia legends in the close of season – even though the premier demands weren’t for them, we will always remember the key individuals who got us to where we are, and their legacy will go on. It was also important we cut off ties with those players who didn’t fit the mould – which we did soon after the seasons end.
4) What goals do Britannia have for this season, or what they hope to achieve
We are going in highly ambitious. If you spoke to Alan Arruda, he’d be first one to tell you he is here to win silverware, not as a journeyman. Several of our new players follow the same ambition, and can use this season as a platform to achieve much greater things in the future. We have young players who with the right exposure, can challenge themselves at much higher levels, which we obviously promote to all players playing in Gibraltar. We intend to cement ourselves as a top premier club, being recognised as a club who want to get the best out of their players, and enhance their talents through professional coaching. The plan is to hit the ground running, have a much more competitive season this time round and show Gibraltar what our club is all about.
Football Gibraltar would like to thank James Watson for his time and wishes Britannia all the best ahead of the upcoming season. Their first match is on Sunday against Gibraltar United.