The pendulum swung true on Saturday when the Park Hotel Byron Bay Rams travelled to Lismore to meet arch rivals Lismore Thistles for the penultimate round of the 2014 season. The Reserve grade match was yet another frustrating outing for the Byron boys. The second string Rams, despite totally dominated proceedings in the first half, couldn’t seem to find the net. The Thistles reserves, conversely, rarely made it into Rams territory but did manage to win a penalty and lead 1-0 into the break.
The second half saw more Rams attacks broken on the Thistles defence until a late cross from Tane Meek found the head of Steve Kirkpatrick who in turn found the net to equalise and salvage a point for Byron.
The Premier Rams fared no better. With the Minor Premiership already secured, the Rams Prems had little to play for beyond their long standing rivalry with Thistles. The Lismore squad, however had second spot in their sights and a lot of pride on the line.
While still down a couple of key personnel, the Rams played their usual fast and efficient football but seemed to lack the hunger and passion of the Thistles. Despite solid performances from the entire team, and the outstanding work-rate Kazuhiro Tsukamoto, Michael Kelly, Barry Wood and Jono Pierce, the Rams’ never quite hit their straps.
Tsukamoto ran riot among the Thistles defence and James Tomlinson had yet another titanic battle with Thistles towering defender, Max Hospers, but the Rams remained scoreless. Thistles once again made the most of their forays into Rams territory and finished a gruelling match two goals up.
Byron keeper, Chris Jones, lost his usual composure after Thistles' second goal and found himself looking at a red card. Coach Damon Bell will have to find a replacement keeper for the final match of the season against Lismore Workers.
The final round, a home game for the Rams, will most likely decide who takes second spot for 2014 and will undoubtedly be another hard-fought battle.
Reserves kick off at 1pm and the Prems at 3pm.
[mainpic] MAINPIC / Rams midfielder Barry Woods flies high click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]