Rams learn a hard lesson
FOOTBALL: Byron Bay FC suffered their first defeat of the Summer Youth League season in a frustrating 2-1 game against Casino Cobras at Colley Park.
The league leaders travelled to Casino knowing victory would keep them in first position. But things didn't go to plan.
Lacking penetration early in the game, the Rams dominated possession but struggled to create any real scoring chances.
They were made to pay midway through the first half when Casino launched a counter-attack with a long pass from deep in their own territory.
While their initial shot was blocked by Alby Kay, Byron's keeper Pierce Essery had dived for the ball and was already committed, so when the blocked shot landed at the feet of a Cobras attacker, he was able to shoot into an empty net.
The second half saw the Rams come out with a more vigorous game plan and there was a lot more movement in the midfield which allowed more forward passes to create chances.
It wasn't long until Byron equalised thanks to Taj Birrell getting on the end of an impressive cross from Phoenix Smith.
With the score at 1-1, Byron players pushed forward with enthusiasm in search of the winning goal.
But that youthful enthusiasm turned out to be their undoing as the Rams got too carried away with all-out attack and lost discipline.
Casino took full advantage, again launching a counter-attack to catch Byron Bay napping.
Essery was able to save their first attempt but a Casino attacker reacted first, getting to the rebound and shooting the ball into goal.
The loss was a shock for the Rams but it was is an important lesson for the young squad - while you can get away with lapses of discipline in youth football, it is almost always punished in senior football.
The result means Byron are now in a tie for first place, though Goonellabah have a game in hand.
Their next match is against Tintenbar at Cumbalum Fields. Kick-off is 7pm on Friday night.