The Byron Bay Rams made the long trip down to Coffs on Friday, July 17 for the Solo Cup quarter Final against South Cardiff from the NBN State League. With Nolan Pierce down with the flu and Bruce Morehouse, Sam Owens, Kazahiro Tsukamoto, and Aaron Richter-Steers injured or away, the line-up was as follows:
Layton Barton in goal, Toby Barton, Sam Robson, Mav White and Ian Lennie at the back, Shannan Maciejewski, Yantra Whitling, Jonno Pierce and Tommy Ruhl in mid field with Ryan Gray and Jordy Campbell up front. On the bench were Corey Montgomery, Tom Baker, Herick Scheunemann and Farren Latham-O’Brien. After three consecutive away games, another trip to Coffs was not too daunting and the squad headed down on Friday night so that the players could be rested and raring to go come kick-off time on Saturday.
Despite a good night’s sleep, the depleted Rams squad made a hesitant and lack-lustre start. Layton made two good saves in the opening minutes only to concede a goal eight minutes in. The setback spurred the Rams into action and they worked hard to get back into the game. The equaliser came from Jordy Campbell after a good control-and-turn and a cracking finish.
With South Cardiff attacking at will down our right flank, Toby Barton and Jonno Pierce were switched to try to stem the flow. Pierce found the going just as tough and couldn’t contain the South Cardiff onslaught. South Cardiff again took the lead with another move down that side.
The score-line held at 2-1 down at the break thanks to some great goal-keeping from Layton and sterling work from Mav White and Ian Lennie.
The second half saw Pierce make way for Corey Montgomery, the Rams hoping his fresh legs and pace may contain Cardiff’s seemingly easy run down our right.
The Cardiff attack was relentless and goals 3 and 4 quickly followed – again from the right. Toby Barton came off and Mav White moved to right back while Tommy Ruhl made way for Herick Scheunemann.
The first two chances of the half fell to the Rams but Cardiff’s seeming ease of passage down our right flank was astonishing.
The Rams didn’t give up however, and their consolation second goal from Campbell was well deserved.
It was not a great day for the Rams, with key players missing and a few others ‘off-song’. While it was disappointing to have gotten this far only to perform at less than our best, it speaks volumes about the character of the squad that we managed to stay in it until the end.
Lennie, White, Campbell and Layton Barton were outstanding with ‘Man-of-the-Match’ honours shared between Layton and Jordy.
The Rams return to action in the FFNC Premier League against Ballina at Saunders Oval this Sunday with a 2:30pm kick-off.