Bay and Rams in top of table clash

[singlepic id=283 width=250 float=right]NEW ladder leader Byron Bay faces an immediate threat with the Rams to play an in-form Goonellabah on the Hornets’ home turf tomorrow in FNC premier league soccer. The Bay took the lead in a congested ladder with a 2-1 home win over Pottsville midweek.

Under new coach John Sowter the Rams are the highest scoring side with 15 goals from five matches.

Captain Tom Ruhl and Japanese striker Kazuhiro Tsukamoto have relished the 4-3-3 format adopted by Sowter, with six goals apiece giving them joint leadership on the golden boot tally. With two-time golden boot winner Jordy Campbell also up front for the Rams, it looms as the biggest test of the season to date for the Hornets.

Sowter has entrusted his defence to a young lineup under the guidance of veteran Bruce Mourhaus, with Sam Robson only 16, Nolan Pierce 18, Toby Barton 15 and his brother Layton in goals who is 17.

Goonellabah will run on the same side that downed Rovers 3-1 last week, with the exception of striker Cameron Rippon, with either Troy Cook or Brenton Perrin taking his place.

While Byron will be on a high from their strong early form, beating the Hornets on their home turf provides the league’s ultimate challenge and has been accomplished just once in the last two and a half years.

The game kicks off at 2.30pm.

After a shock 3-1 loss to Casino midweek, Richmond Rovers will look to restore pride in their local derby with Lismore Thistles today at Thistles Park from 3pm.

It was the second 3-1 defeat within days for the reigning major premiers after the same scoreline against Goonellabah last Saturday, putting them on the brink of three consecutive losses within a week.

The new giant killers of the league Casino will host Alstonville today at 5pm.

The Cobras’ 3-1 win over major premiers Rovers midweek sent shock waves through the league and broke the ice for their first points of the season.

With a formation that allows their key weapon Wayne Mortimer to be let loose on a roving commission, the Cobras have an unusual setup that is sure to present problems for Villa, who won 2-1 win against Workers.

After conceding 16 goals in their last three games, Ballina will host third placed Pottsville today at 3pm.

The Seahorses have just one win from their five starts and their season is in danger of disintegrating if they suffer another big loss like last week’s 8-1 defeat to Byron Bay.

The match looms as a serious test of resolve for the squad, but in their favour, the Panthers are backing up for their third game in a week and have Adam Rogers, Brad Sheard and Matt DeGroot missing, which will test their limited depth.

Mark Robinson