Makeshift Rams topple Bangalow
Byron Bay Rams
The Byron Bay Rams capped off a huge week of football with a 4-1 win over arch-rivals Bangalow Bluedogs on Saturday.
The previous weekend’s unconvincing 2-1 win over Alstonville was a wake-up call for the top-of-the-table club. So it was all hands on deck to plug the holes in the injury-ravaged Premiers and Reserves teams for Wednesday night’s catch-up games and again on Saturday.
A myriad of players from 1st division plus Mav White and Brad Jones from the U16 boys team were promoted to Premier division.
The Rams Premiers accounted for Lennox Head 4-2 on Wednesday night.
On Saturday the Premier Reserve team did a mighty job, defeating Bangalow 3-0 with so many players either injured or unavailable. While Jonathan Pierce still struggling with injury, directed traffic at the front, Alex (Squirrel) Cruse scored a brace of goals. Jonathan’s younger brother Nolan also scored another. It was a great indicator of the club’s great depth and developing young talent.
The Byron Rams Premier team had eight of their top players sidelined or away including Bruce Morhaus, Tom Ruhl, Jed Wright and John Bradbury for their clash with the Bangalow Bluedogs. So on paper the Bangalow were odds-on favourites.
The first 20 minutes of the match were marked with two shots to each team going wide or over the crossbar. However, five minutes later a beautiful build-up through four Rams players led to young Tim Knight hammering the ball into the back of the net.
Just before the half- time whistle the Bluedogs put a set play shot past a four-man wall. Goalkeeper Kai Connell took flight into a full stretch dive to save what would have been a cracking goal.
Both sides had their chances in the second half. However, the patchwork Rams team seemed to start to “gel” together and have more confidence. Sam Owen created a beautiful lead-up on the left flank to bamboozle the Bluedog defence and provide a fast, low cross for Knight to finish his second goal.
Bluedogs midfielders Cale Johnstone and Joel Rudgley were the powerhouses and they helped Carlos Argent to claw a goal back for Bangalow and make it 2-1.
Soon after, Owen was unlucky not to score with a blinding shot. The Rams midfield created a great lead-up for Priori to chip goalkeeper Alex Pratt for 3-1.
Soon after Knight cut the right flank Bangalow defence to shreds and off-loaded a cross to striker Jordy Campbell whose cracking goal was ruled offside.
His dogged persistence paid off and he put his name on the score sheet three minutes from full- time with a lovely ball from Nolan Pierce.