SOCCER: Lennox comes close to ending Byron's winning streak

LENNOX Head has sounded a warning that they are primed to make an impact in the semi-finals after coming from behind to earn a 1-all draw with undefeated league leader Byron Bay on the Rams' home turf in Far North Coast premier league soccer.

It was a tight, physical contest played at high intensity, but clear-cut chances on goal were rare until a deflected shot from Michael Kelly gave Byron Bay the lead early in the second half.

The Sharks hit back when a searching cross from Jervis Foley found the feet of the league's top scorer Byron Milne, whose clinical finish took his tally to 20 goals for the season.

Both sides crafted late chances to win but strong performances from goalkeepers Layton Barton (Lennox Head) and Chris Jones (Byron Bay) left the match fittingly tied up.

"We showed Byron can be vulnerable," Sharks coach Troy Taylor said.

"We were strong enough to keep them out for most of the match, and smart enough to stop them settling into their usual game plan.

"I'm happy with the point, it consolidates third place for us."

The result also shaves the Rams' lead over second-placed Richmond Rovers to five points and, with three rounds left, the race for the minor premiership is still alive.

The two sides play each other in a fortnight in a match that could determine who takes the title.

Rovers kept their momentum building with a 2-0 away win over Alstonville, with goals from Kurt Walker and player of the match Shane Smith.

Villa needed to end Rovers' long unbeaten run to hold on to their place in the top five but have now dropped out on goal difference and are facing a three-way battle with Goonellabah and Thistles for fifth place.

Bangalow took a big step towards avoiding relegation by earning a valu-able point in a nil-all home draw with Goonellabah, damaging the Hornets' semi-final hopes in the process.

The Bluedogs kept a clean sheet for the first time this season in a dour battle, lifting them three points clearof last-placed Ballina.

With a better goal difference than the Seahorses, the point could prove vital before the two meet in a potential final round relegation showdown.

Ballina remain on the foot of the ladder after being outclassed 4-1 by Workers at Richards Oval, Lismore.

The Redmen dominated from the outset, consolidating fourth place with goals from Sam Sharkey (two), Jay Keevers and Bill Latimer.

Jeremy Mitchell netted a late consolation penalty for the seasiders, but they now have just three games leftto save their season.


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