Bouncing back from an ugly draw with Rovers and an upset loss to Alstonville, Byron Rams continued to show their dominance with another two wins in the last week. The Rams reserves set the tone with a comfortable 3-0 win over Lennox Head in a Tuesday night catch-up game. A hat-trick for Steve Kirkpatrick in the first 20 minutes (and a couple of disallowed goals) testament to Byron's attacking strength. The Premier squad quickly followed suit with a goal to Seb Bell inside the first minute. Bell's second goal off a long through ball followed shortly after. Lucas O'Donnell made it 3-0 at the break. Lennox Head came out firing in the second half, but were out gunned by the Byron back line. Goal 4 and yet another hat-trick for Sebastian Bell sealed the result. On Sunday, the Rams took on Minor Premiers in both Reserves and Premier Division in Lismore. A determined Thistles reserves squad held the Byron attack at bay and, despite the Rams have more than its share of possession and attacking play, Thistles came away with a 4-1 victory and retribution for their defeat in Round One.
Far from being a 'dead-rubber', the top-of-the-table Premier Division clash was one of the most important and exciting matches of the season. While the finishing positions were already decided, Thistles were desperate to hang on to their undefeated jacket, and the Rams were out to counter that first round result and to take the psychological upper hand going into the finals.
The Rams took control from the first whistle and, in a stunning reversal of Round One's fortunes, put away three quick goals to take a commanding lead. The Thistles defence did their best to keep Sebastian Bell out of the game, but could not hold back the relentless Rams attack and conceded goals to Lucas O'Donnell Seb Bell and Sam Owens in an inspiring ten minutes of football. Veteran Bruce Morhaus suffered a terrible knee injury and was stretchered from the field.
Another Byron war horse, Todd Knaus stepped into Bruce's shoes and, with his own knee heavily strapped, put in a lion-hearted performance up front.
A goal from Thistles and an unfortunate own-goal saw Byron's margin dangerously thinned at 3-2. Coach Damon Bell reset to defend the lead from a fired up Thistles attack. Far from just 'hanging on' however, The Rams attack was relentless with Todd Knaus, Seb Bell, Sam Owens and James Tomlinson pounding the Thistle's defence right down to the final whistle. Another great win for the Rams.
Then ... its on to the finals!