Game on as finals approach
BYRON Bay Services Club Rams played host to local rivals Bangalow on Sunday in what has become a reliably fiery derby.
Both Premier Division and Reserve Grade were vigorously and hotly contested.
The reserves match started a little slowly and the Rams were one nil down five minutes in after the Bluedogs put away a penalty. The Dogs lead was soon nullified by a well angled strike from Alex Kempnich.
The game seesawed for the remainder of the match, with plenty of action and plenty of goals. The final whistle saw the contest deadlocked at 4-4.
The Premier Rams got off to a forceful start, dominating the play with shots from Diego Vazquez, Jonno Pierce and Lisandro Luaces foiled by the Bangalow keeper.
With James Tomlinson unavailable, the Byron defence, led by Rams veteran James Packham, ensured our goal line was not going to be crossed.
The match went into the break a 0-0 stalemate with both sides eager to get on the board.
The Rams again pressed hard in the second half but the Bangalow defence managed to hold back all advances.
Ten minutes in to the second half a slick combination from Lisandro Luaces, Diego Vazquez and Rick Muir finally broke the Bangalow back line and finished with Muir drilling the ball into the corner of the net.
With a one goal lead, the Rams eased off the pressure allowing Bangalow more of the ball. The Bluedogs now pressed hard but the Rams midfield and defence contained all of their aggressive raids with little concern.
Rams keeper Pierce Essery comfortably handled what few shots came his way. There were outstanding performances from James Packham, Rick Muir and Otis Adlington that helped Byron take the points.
With only two or three games of the main season left to play, only a handful of points separate the top five contenders.
The Rams travel to Lismore this Friday night to meet sixth place Goonellabah who will be fighting hard to keep their finals hoped alive.
Reserves kick off at 6 and the Prems at 8pm.