Byron Bay Rams
On paper the undefeated but relatively untested newly promoted Alstonville Premiers line-up came to the Bay on Saturday as underdogs.
However, relieving Rams coach Jim Gelagotis was taking no chances in Peter Ware’s absence. He put his most experienced and formidable line-up on the park.
But the Rams didn’t get the start they wanted with keeper Kai Connell having to use all of his skill to deflect a ball in a one-on-one Villa attack after only six minutes.
After 15 minutes, referee Shane Fletcher awarded a penalty after a strong challenge on a Villa striker in the penalty area.
Keeper Connell was unlucky not to get a hand to it and the Alstonville fans went wild as the ball went to the right hand corner of the net.
The Rams regrouped and it wasn’t long before an incredible run from Jed Wright caught the Villa defence off guard and then he unleashed a huge shot from outside the penalty area past the keeper to even the score.
Villa brought five defenders into their back-line but it wasn’t enough to stop Jed Wright with a characteristic blindingly fast run down the flank at the 30-minute mark cutting the ball to striker Sam Owen for a precision shot past the keeper to take the lead.
Just before the half-time break the crowd was treated to some sublime domination passing as the Bay midfield taunted the Villa players.
They set up a quick ball to John Bradbury, then to Sam Owen, who crossed to Jordy Campbell, who made no mistake with a terrific shot past the keeper, taking the score to 3-1 into the break.
The Villa boys came out in the second half with renewed enthusiasm. However, after 20 minutes an indirect penalty awarded for a foul on a Bay striker resulted in mayhem in front of the Villa goal mouth, and in the confusion the Rams scored another goal to make sure of their win.
A rare mistake in the Rams defence lead to a late goal, however, it wasn’t enough to take the shine off a brilliant Rams performance, winning 4-2 and gaining a valuable 3 points, keeping them towards the top of the competition ladder.
This weekend will see the local derby against Bangalow at the opening of the new Bangalow Oval.
Both Byron Bay Rams Premier division teams taught the newly promoted Alstonville teams a lesson they won’t forget in a hurry.
In their first encounter in four years Villa were hoping to get their first win after playing two draws in their first two games. The field was soft after weeks of rain.
In the opening match the Rams started attacking the Villa back line from the kick-off. It wasn’t long before young 16-year-old striker Tim Knight used his blistering speed to cut the Villa defence to ribbons and send the ball into the net after only 3 minutes.
At the 25-minute mark Shane Banks sent another beautiful pass to Knight, who tore down the right wing to the touch line then cut the ball back to Alex “Squirrel” Cruse who was waiting in front of goal and made no mistake for the Rams’ second goal.
The Rams created wave after wave of attack and hit the metalwork twice before Thiago Priori outsmarted the opposition with his sensational ball skills and sent another ball through to Knight.
Again he sprinted past the defence and fooled the goalkeeper to adjust the score to 3-nil just before half-time.
Early in the second half Villa pounced on a mistake in the Rams’ back line and were able to finally get a ball past keeper Alex Gray.
At the 75-minute, Mark Pierce made a solo run past the Villa defence and with only the keeper to beat he slotted home a brilliant goal and had the Rams fans on their feet yet again.
The Byron defence stayed rock solid and sent the Villa boys back home with a 4-1 bruising.
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