North Coast teams through in FFA Cup
LOCAL teams and rivals Byron Bay FC and Bangalow SC performed well last Saturday at the regional semi-finals of the 2017 FFA Cup in Coffs Harbour.
Battling it out side-by-side on adjacent fields at Coffs Harbour International Stadium, both sides made it hard graft for the first 45 minutes, struggling to find their feet on the manicured turf.
Bangalow spent much of the match a goal behind their Northern Inland opponents, Oxley Vale Attunga FC, before battling back to a tough 3-1 win.
The Northern Hotel Byron Bay Rams found their rhythm in their second set, with a cracking long-ranger from Quinn McDonald opening the scoring.
Seventeen-year-old Sam Shepherd fought his way though the Demon Knights defence and slid the ball through the keeper's fingertips to take a second goal for the Rams.
Moments later, a strong attacking run from defender Harper Hain came to an abrupt end when he was brought down inside the box.
The resulting penalty strike from Joel Wood was deflected by a great save from the Demon keeper only to be pounced on and put away by Gianluca Bongiovanna.
Shepherd again bested the Demons' defence in the final moments of the match, slotting home his second and the Rams' fourth and final goal of the day.
The wins earned both the Rams and the Bluedogs a place in the qualifying finals for Sunday but overnight rain forced a postponement, with the rescheduled matches yet to be announced.
Provided the FFA finals are not reset, this week's round of the regular competition has Byron hosting Goonellabah at the Rec Grounds on Sunday. Reserves kick off at 12.30pmand the premiers at2.30pm.