Another round of Semi Finals last week saw fortunes reversed for the Prems and Reserves. The Prems met traditional rivals Richmond Rovers at the Byron Rec Ground on Friday, September 6 for what turned out to be a fast-paced and entertaining display. With veterans Bruce Morhaus and Todd Knaus out with injuries, Coach Damon Bell decided to shake it up a little, pushing defender James Tomlinson forward into the front lines.
The new line took a few minutes to settle in, but Tommo's speed, strength and deft touch certainly disrupted the composure of the Rovers defence. Twenty minutes in, a ball from Tommo to Lachlan Dewar found Seb Bell who's neat turn and volley found the net. 1-0 to Byron.
Rovers' usual long ball "kick and chase" game had Byron on the back foot for a while, with flanking runs from Dewar and Sam Owens keeping the Rovers defence busy. Rovers equalised 35 minutes in and despite a disallowed goal for Tommo and some near misses, they wing into the break at 1-1.
The Rams had the better of it during the second half, with repeated attacks on the Rovers goal. Jonno Pierce replaced an injured Lachlan Dewar and added fire to a strong and physical contest.
Strong attacks from both sides saw plenty of saves, near misses and corners. With ten minutes to go and no-one finding the net, it was beginning to look like yet another Rams Rovers draw.
Finally, the spill from a corner was pounced on by Jonno Pierce who blasted an unstoppable 25 metre shot into the Rovers net.
The final Rams 2, Rovers 1 scoreline eliminates Rovers from the finals series and has the Rams facing Lismore Workers for the third time in recent weeks to battle for a Grand Final spot against Thistles.
A controversial change of heart from the referee saw a free kick become a penalty and Thistles took a 1-0 lead. Byron piled on the pressure in response and after slicing up the defence, Nolan Pierce crossed to Sequoya Rawson Smith who made it 1-1 with a very decisive finish. Backing up from his match winner the night before, Jonathan Pierce joined his brother Nolan in a series of high speed attacks.
The Rams continued to dominate with some great saves from Rams' Keeper Lachie Baynes holding back counter attacks from Thistles. The Lismore champions finally went 2-1 one up and despite repeated and ferocious attacks from the Pierce brothers, Steve Kirkpatrick and Sequoya Rawson Smith, the equaliser never came.
The reserves must now play Richmond Rovers to stay in contention for the Grand Final.
[mainpic]MAIN PIC / Courage under fire: Lachie Baynes faces down a one-on-one click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]