Patchwork Rams hold it together at Villa
After all the glamour and excitement of the Byron Rams' exhibition match against A-League side Gold Coast United in front of 2000 football fans the previous week, it was time last Saturday to come back down to earth and concentrate on the FFNC Premier League.
But with eight players ruled out with injury, sickness or holidays and three players tentatively coming back from injury, coach Peter Ware was forced to assemble patchwork teams for the reserves and premier clashes away at Crawford Park against Alstonville.
Villa was psyched up for upset wins in front of their home crowd against the third placed Rams to get into semi-final contention.
Villa got their first wish when the decimated, top of the table Byron Rams reserves team were hammered 5-0 in the opening game.
In the main game, Rams left winger John Bradbury gave Villa a shake up after only three minutes with a thunderbolt goal from just inside the penalty box.
A lacklustre Rams defence allowed the Villa forwards too much space and they were able to equalise with an easy goal.
Simple mistakes seemed to be the Rams undoing. However just before half time whistle Bradbury flicked striker Jordy Campbell a beautiful ball and he shot a back header into the left corner of the net to regain the lead.
The Rams seemed to be missing their usual 'mojo' and with a young spirited Villa fighting back it seemed the game could go either way.
With just 15 minutes left in the game Rams defender Lennie was forced to save a certain goal in front of the net. Three minutes later had it not been for goalkeeper Kai Connell's deft touch, Villa would have equalised. It was a nail biting last few minutes however Byron just hung on for a 2-1 win.
With competition leaders Rovers and Goonellabah having a draw over the weekend the Rams are now just one point behind on the table.
Be sure not to miss the second round of the local derby, Bangalow v Byron Rams at Byron Bay on Saturday at 3pm.