Byron Bay teams go wild for the finals
SPORTING a new strip for 2017, the Northern Hotel Byron Bay Rams continued their strong pre-season showing with another emphatic win last Wednesday night.
The Rams met Italo Stars in round 2 of the 2017 FFA Cup qualifiers under lights at Southern Cross Football Centre in Lismore.
Despite a gritty performance from the Lismore outfit, they proved to be no match for Byron's full-tilt pressing game.
Ten minutes into the opening set, a poor back pass saw a desperate header from the Stars keeper fall to the feet of Rams' striker Aaron Walker, who made no mistake with a clinical finish.
Nine minutes later and some slick combinations between Sam Owens and Joel Wood finished with goal number 2 from Wood.
Byron kept up the pressure and, another nine minutes in, the inevitable third goal came when Walker pounced on the spill from a corner and drove it home from 25 metres out.
With a minute remaining before the break, a flanking run from Harper Hain and a pinpoint cross found Aaron Walker in to box who calmly chipped the keeper to complete his first half hat-trick.
The second half saw more relentless pressure from the Rams with another run of smooth combinations leading to a second goal for Joel Wood that took the score to 5-0.
Moments later, Ben Ahern took a break from marshalling the Rams defence to make a 40 metre flanking run of his own.
His cross found Will Ennis up front who fought his way through the remaining Italo defenders and found the net with a terrific strike to make it 6-0.
One minute later a long ball from Rams keeper Griffin Bambach found the feet of Will Ennis on the right flank.
Ennis' diagonal cross put Aaron Walker on the spot for goal number 7.
With five minutes to run and the Italo players' frustration beginning to show, Walker took his fifth goal for the night and finished the match at 8-0.
Stellar performances from Ben Ahern and James Tomlinson in defence and Ronan Karup and Quinn McDonald in the midfield helped to deny Stars and joy.
The win sees the Rams progress to the Regional Quarter Finals in Coffs Harbour on Saturday, May 13 and, if successful the Semi Finals the following day.
Next outing for Byron boys is the Final of the 2017 Anzac Cup against arch-rivals Richmond Rovers at Oakes Oval at 4pm on Saturday, April 22.
Byron's Womens Wildcats also have a chance at the silverware on Friday evening at 5.45 at Oakes Oval in the Final of the Callan Macmillan Shield pre-season competition.
Come along and support your club on both nights! Admission is free and a gold coin donation will go to the Lismore flood appeal.