The Byron Rams V Bangalow Bluedogs football derby is renowned for its heated and often physical clashes. While last Friday night’s round delivered plenty of fireworks, a more disciplined Bangalow side produced a better showing than in their Anzac Cup encounter. The Park Hotel Rams went into both Reserves and Premier matches wary of the extra fight that Banglaow brings to these games – and the potential for an upset.
Despite a determined effort that saw them open the scoring, the Bluedogs reserves were no match for the Byron second string squad. The Rams dominated play and soon took back the lead and went on to a convincing 3-1 win.
The Bluedogs gave the reigning champs a bit more of challenge in the Premier Division match. While the Rams poured on the pressure from the start, the ‘Dogs responded with a series of solid and sustained attacks that kept the the Byron defence busy.
Byron managed to keep the upper hand throughout the scoreless first half, and maintained the punishing pace well into the second. The speed and pressure began to tell on the Bluedogs, with frustration bringing free kicks, and cramps and injuries taking their toll. A well placed free-kick found the head Herick Schuenemann in the box and Byron took the lead. Five minutes later, a scramble for the ball saw frayed tempers flare and Schuenemann was sent for an early shower.
The loss served to steel the Rams resolve and relentelss pressure from the 10 man squad forced some spectacular performances from the Bangalow keeper. A hotly disputed hand ball in the Bangalow box gave Byron’s set piece maestro Connor Cannon another unstoppable penalty.
Not content to simply defend their lead, the 10-man Rams ramped up the attack, with late substitute, Jono Pierce firing up the Byron boys to squeeze the Bangalow defence right down to the whistle.
Another powerful team effort from the Rams, with extra strong performances from Schuenemann, Connor Cannon, Barry Wood, Kazuhiro Tsukamoto, Shaun Packham and – in both Reserves and Prems – a rampant Jonathan Pierce.
The undefeated Rams remain at the top of the table going into round 7. Next week’s match is at Goonellabah against a struggling, bottom of the ladder Hornets.
Reserves kick off at 1pm and the Premier Division at 3pm.
[mainpic] MAINPIC / Rams Striker James Tomlinson breaks away from the Bluedogs click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]