Rams knocked out on a muddy day
The Byron Rams Premier League football team has been testing their ability in the inaugural statewide Solo Cup knockout competition and competing for a prize purse totalling $10,000.
Fifty-six clubs from across Northern NSW entered the FA Cup style competition where each team must win to progress to the next round.
After convincing wins over Port Macquarie 6-1 and Tamworth 5-1 in their earlier two rounds, the Rams were sitting in first place on the northern pool ladder. The stage was set for a sudden-death play-off with second-placed Woolgoolga Wolves on Saturday to see who would progress to round four.
Torrential rain just hours before the match turned the Weston Park pitch into a soggy, muddy mess and changed the playing dynamics considerably. In this round the Rams were also without striker Jordy Campbell and the injured central defender, Ian Lennie.
Both teams started playing solid but tentative football, creating opportunities and testing the defences. The Wolves hit the upright after 10 minutes, and just five minutes later Byron were unlucky with a shot as well.
Ten minutes later Rams keeper Kai Connell was kept busy having to dive for two saves in two minutes. It was obvious at this point the Rams defence just wasn’t tight enough and leaving gaps.
At the 30-minute mark the Wolves had an overlap and were able to score from right in front. The Rams were creating their own opportunities with young Nolan Pierce able to cross several balls into the box from the left wing.
Tom Ruhl hit the upright and Sam Owens had another two opportunities, however the Rams forwards just couldn’t finish.
Three minutes from half-time, Woolgoolga scored a cracking goal from outside the penalty area to take them two goals up at oranges.
The ground was getting cut up badly and conditions seemed to worsen in the second half. Both teams had opportunities and the Wolves were unlucky early on with a sure goal when the ball stuck in the mud.
Another defensive error allowed the powerful Wolves forwards a golden opportunity and they put away their third goal.
However, it seemed the Rams created just as many opportunities down the flanks, but the Wolves defenders closed them down and the strikers just couldn’t seem to find the net.
Rams’ Tim Knight also hit the upright in the last few minutes, however, it seemed Woolgoolga would be the victors and progress to the next round of the cup.
The result puts the Byron Bay Rams in overall fourth position on the northern pool ladder.