Rams now in pole position
BYRON Bay Rams have claimed outright first place on the Summer Youth League ladder for the first time this season after an exhilarating last-minute victory over Richmond Rovers.
In what was essentially a semi-final, goals from Zahi Addis and Ethan Archer in the 2-1 win plus Goonellabah losing to Alstonville put the Rams in the box seat for the premiership with only two games remaining.
Going into the game, a loss would have been enough to knock either team out of contention and the match lived up to the occasion in an exciting encounter.
Byron Bay came out of the sheds with incredible intensity and created several chances in the opening minutes.
The Rams made that domination count in the 11th minute when a lazy run along the by-line by Sam Jimenez-Swain set-up Addis for the opener.
With the remainder of the first half a tough battle, Rovers were able to equalise and both teams went into the sheds with the score locked at 1-1.
The second stanza was an end-to-end encounter as each side searched hard for the winner with the contrasting styles of the teams creating entertaining football.
Rovers continually fed their speedy forwards while Rams looked to create chances through build-up and combination play.
Ultimately, Rovers' physical play came back to bite them. As they tired, their defenders began giving away free kicks in dangerous areas before the killer blow came in the final minute.
Ryan Milgate slipped through the fatigued Rovers defence and was poised to shoot when he was knocked over by a recovering Rovers defender to win a penalty.
Archer kept his nerve impressively to convert the spot kick, winning the game for Byron Bay with the last kick of the game.
With two matches remaining, the Rams are three points clear at the top of the table and need to beat Italo Stars who are gaining momentum after an impressive win against Mullumbimby.
Kick-off is 8pm tomorrow at the Recreational Grounds.