Round 3 of the Football Far North Coast delivered a surprise result at Ballina on Sunday, March 15.
After being soundly beaten in Round 2’s clash with reigning champions, Lismore Thistles, the Byron boys had been expected to do much better against the winless Seagulls.
The Rams kicked off short a few key players and despite superior fitness and skills, the Byron boys never quite connected the dots. An early goal to Ballina inspired the underdogs to a gusty and determined push that had Byron on the back-foot.
The Rams equalised after the 30 minutes with a cross from Tyson Kaye and a simple tap in from James Tomlinson. A corner from Jonno Pierce found the head of Herick Schuenemann to give Byron a 2-1 lead just before half time.
Early in the second half Ballina surged to equalise once again. Against the odds and the run of play, Ballina answered every Byron play and some loose passing from the Rams repeatedly handed over possession and conceded goals. A cracking strike from Michael Kelly kept Byron in the game and, with Seagulls in front 4-3 and just seconds to go, a header into the box from Tai Flanagan met the head of striker James Tomlinson to save Byron from a very uncomfortable defeat.
Byron’s Wildcat’s women’s team fared much better against their coastal rivals in round 3 of the Callan-McMillan Cup. The young Wildcats put together some polished play that totally overwhelmed the Ballina girls.The Byron crew ran away with a 5-2 win and a well-earned spot in the semi-finals.
Perhaps the most intriguing result on the day was the ‘friendly’ between the Rams’ and Seagull’s Reserves that was played alongside the Prems clash. The ‘second string’ Rams (those not registered to play in the Anzac Cup) demolished the Seagulls 9-1 in a somewhat ominous display of the depth of Byron’s talent pool.
Look forward to a very interesting first match of the main season on Friday, March 27 at Ballina. Reserves kick off at 6pm and the Prems at 8pm.
Story and pics by Dogwhistle