The FFNC Premier League match of the round this week was between 2nd placed Goonellabah Hornets and the Byron Rams in 4th place at Weston Park on Saturday. Before the match Rams’ coach Peter Ware said "The boys always lift against Goonellabah and the big win over Casino last week has brought their confidence back, "We know it will be tough. They're well prepared and on a winning streak so we're the underdogs, but we don't mind that tag. We'll be giving it everything" he said.
The Rams exerted their dominance from the outset and kept the ball controlled and in the Hornets half, right up until the Ref awarded a free kick just outside the Hornets penalty box at the 12 minute mark. Jordy Campbell fired a cannon ball low and hard, deflecting off the defensive wall and finding the net to take the Rams to an early lead. The Rams midfield engine room was working like a dream. Lachlan Dewar was having a “blinder” and Victor Pires and Bruce Morhaus “Ranger” just clicked and were destroying their opposite numbers. However disaster struck just 3 minutes after the Rams goal with a curling corner kick from Ex Byron player Toby Barton. Keeper Pierce Essery did well to get a finger to it however it hit the upright and bounced back across the line to level the score.
It gave the Hornets more confidence, however the Rams still had the run of play up to the ½ time whistle with dual strikers, Campbell and Tim Knight roaming and piercing the Hornets backline at will. Goonellabah coach Mark Ambler fired rockets at the break and the Hornets came out with guns blazing, displaying a little more creativity than before. However the Rams backline of Jonno Pierce, Layton Barton and Aaron Richter-Steers diffused their attacks and starved their deadly strikers Dave Arnetts and Baitok Ring of the ball.
Rams midfielders Sam Robson and Herick Schuenemann made plenty of attacking forays and were unlucky not to score. However the play of the day started at the 75 minute mark with some fantastic ball work from “man of the match” Lachlan Dewar. He fired a pass to Campbell, and with brilliant timing lobbed a through ball to Knight sprinting down right flank. He jumped on the run to take sublime touch and ran the ball to the backline speeding past the defenders. He cut the ball back across goal for Ranger Morhaus sprinting towards goal. Ranger made no mistake slamming it past the keeper and had the Rams fans on their feet in raptures. It was a nervous last 15 minutes however the Rams claimed an important and well deserved victory. Coach Ware was jubilant after the match saying” It was a fantastic effort from all 11 players to beat Goonellabah on their home turf”
By Rick Knight