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It was a 90 minute death by a thousand cuts for Lismore’s Italo Stars when they took on the Park Hotel sponsored Byron Bay Rams at Byron on Saturday. The Rams decimated Stars 9-0 putting on a brilliant display of beautiful, fast paced Premier League football. After 4 weeks of washed out premiership games, Rams coach Peter Ware was busting to get his new look side out to show what they can do. “We beat Stars 4-1 in the first round of the pre season Anzac Cup competition” he said. “However we will be wary of complacency, as it nearly cost us the game against Lennox Head six weeks ago”. It was clear from the start that the Rams were a class above Italo Stars however it took some time for both sides to get into a rhythm and test the defences The Rams were rushing their attacks and passing, squandering several opportunities and it wasn’t until the 27 minute mark until a goal mouth melee saw 4 Rams forwards take shots from close range only to be blocked by the Stars defenders, however a desperate Stars tackle created an opportunity Rams Aaron Richter-Steers from the resulting free kick. He weighted it beautifully over the wall and straight past Stars keeper Ben Perry to open the score. That goal opened the floodgates, and soon after Tim Knight started a series of skilled pin point passing from half way to Tom Ruhl then Victor Pires then speedster Sammy Owens down the left flank, he beat Perry to double the score. Just before half time Owens sliced the Stars defences again and went for goal, he slipped a late pass to Ruhl to score his first of 4 goals. Stars were in disarray and their Coach Neil Wraight was scratching to find some answers.
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In the second half Ware sent the lads out with instructions to slow the play down. Layton Barton, Pires and Yantra Whitling had full control of the midfield feeding the flankers, Knight and Owens ball after ball up the outside channels. It was just 7 minutes till Ian Lennie shot a clinical header into the net off Ruhl’s corner kick. Jonno Pierce was having an awesome game and paired up well with Owens. The Rams have just re-signed Kai Connell as keeper and while there was little threat from the Stars strikers his incredible skill gave great confidence to the defenders Sam Robson, Lennie and Richter-Steers. At 56 minutes Layton Barton powered his way down the right flank single handed and scored the 5th goal. Just 2 minutes later Barton smashed through the midfield again and supplied the final pass to Ruhl in what would be the first of 3 similar goals for the pair. With the Rams well ahead Ware brought on new signing George Martin, Tane Meek and Yoshi Madder in the last 25 minutes to provide fresh legs.
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With 7 minutes to go, Meek streaked down the left flank all the way to the back line with little resistance and cut back a cross to Madder running on to the back post and he scored his first Top grade goal. Another Barton / Ruhl combination completed the rout in the last 30 seconds with the 9th goal. The Park Hotel sponsored Rams will take on Casino next Saturday away and will need to reserve some strength for a catch up game against arch rivals Richmond Rovers just 48 hours later on Monday night.