A DRAMATIC late goal from Sequoya Lawson allowed Byron Bay to escape with a 2-2 away draw against Richmond Rovers in the latest Football FNC men's premier league action.
Heavy conditions made play difficult for both sides, but Rovers' ability to capitalise on set pieces gave them an early edge.
A free kick into the box from Brett Lane was chased down by Russell Dent, who beat advancing 'keeper Pierce Essery with an acutely angled shot.
Byron levelled when a cross from Sam Owens was headed home by Layton Barton, but once again Rovers made the most of a free kick to retake the lead.
Luke McWaide caught the Rams defence napping, quickly hitting the ball into a vacant net as 'keeper Essery stood at the post lining up his wall.
Byron spent most of the second half on the attack as they pressed for an equaliser, but it wasn't until five minutes from the end that the chance came with a penalty.
Layton Barton blasted his shot off the upright, but fortunately for the Rams it flew straight to Lawson, whose reflex shot billowed the net.
The result dents Byron's premiership hopes, leaving them now seven points behind leader Thistles, while Rovers are still fifth.
Thistles thrash Casino
Lismore Thistles remain on track for their first minor premiership in 21 years, after a comfortable 6-0 home win over Casino.
The undefeated league leaders were untroubled by the last-placed Cobras, with two goals for Nathan McCann, one each for Matt Weir, Matt Armstrong and Steve Morrissey and an own goal.
Emotions were still high in the Blues camp after the funeral of former coach Paul "Bomba" Parmenter the day before, and his inspiration is sure to remain foremost in the players minds as they look to create a slice of club history in his honour.
Record win for Alstonville
Slick Alstonville racked up its biggest ever win in the top ranks, humbling Lennox Head 9-0 on the Sharks' home turf.
Troy Cook and Rick Hanna lead the onslaught with hat-tricks and were joined on the scoresheet by Danny Chatterton, Nathan Collins and Hayden Briggs.
The big win lifts Villa to within two points of the top five, but ended Lennox's hopes of reaching the semis.
In a double blow for the Sharks, who sustained a record loss, they also lost top scorer Paul Kirkland for the rest of the season with a foot injury.
Italo Stars record upset over Bangalow
Italo Stars claimed their first win of the season with a gutsy 2-1 upset over misfiring Bangalow at Barrow Lane.
A first-half breakaway goal from Gye Wivell gave Stars the edge, until the Bluedogs equalised through Joel Rudgley to set up a tense finish.
A late penalty for Lee Simpson triggered jubilant scenes among Stars' ranks.
Lismore Thistles 13 33
Byron Bay 12 26
Bangalow 12 24
Lismore Workers 10 20
Richmod Rovers 11 18
Alstonville 12 16
Lennox Head 11 11
Goonellabah 11 8
Italo Stars 11 6
Casino 12 2
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