Steyning Town Football Club’s under-18 team took the scalp of an international team on their Easter tour.
Steyning travelled to Malaga for their tour this year – with the headline game a match against the Gilbratar under-17 side, which Town won 1-0 in the Gilbratar national stadium.
Town also took on a development side from Atletico Benamiel, a step five club who compete in the First Division of Andalusia, and went on a number of excursions.
Staying on the outskirts of Alhaurín de la Torre, Town made an early start for a coach drive to Gibraltar. After crossing the border, they were picked up by Blands Travel and taken on a tour of The Rock, with visits to Europa Point, St Michael’s Cave and to see the famous macaques.
After some relaxation and refreshment, Steyning made their way to the Victoria Stadium, which had hosted friendlies for Gilbratar’s men’s national side against Latvia and Lichtenstein recently.
Gilbratar were using the match with Steyning as preparation for an international tournament which they had coming up in Cyprus.
Steyning made a nervy start and keeper Jack Gunn made one outstanding save early on.
However, Town soon started to implement their plan of pressing high and went ahead on 30 minutes when Tom Butler scored from Dylan Fane’s cross.
Both teams had chances in the second half but Steyning held on to win 1-0 with a hard-working performance.
Goalscorer Butler said: “The feeling I got after seeing the ball fly into the net against a international team was incredible.”
Steyning captain Oliver Staines added: “I’m proud of the effort the lads put in and we fully deserved the win.”
After a day of relaxation with a trip to El Chorro where the squad swam in the lakes and sampled the local tapas dishes, the team returned to the villa to prepare for the next game against Atletico Benamiel.
Based in Benalmadena, Atletico Benamiel play in the First Division of the Andalusia, which is step five of the Spanish football League. One of their best known former players is Real Madrid midfielder Isco, who was at Atletico Benamiel, before being scouted.
Steyning took on the Benamiel under-21/reserve side as there was a clash of fixtures with the under-17 cadet side, who they had planned to play.
Town led three times, through Matt Symes, Ed Simpkin and Jonny Taylor, but Benamiel levelled each time as the match finished 3-3.
Steyning player Alex Townley said: “It was an absolute pleasure spending the four days with a great bunch of lads.
“We played two brilliant games and it was organised by a great management team.”
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