The Byron Bay Rams premier grade football team are back on track for the semi finals and working hard for their sponsors Coopers and the Park Hotel with their win over Italo Stars on Saturday. Rams coach Peter Ware was cautious before the match as Italo Stars had caused an upset last weekend defeating 3rd place Richmond Rovers 3-2. Wet weather also meant the Rams last game was 3 weeks ago and that was a loss to Alstonville. His woes were compounded with 5 main players - Ian Lennie, Victor Pires, Kai Connell, Tim Knight and Sammy Owens all either injured or unavailable. However defenders, Shaun Packham and Bruce Morhaus were back in the squad . If we keep our defence tight we should win“ Ware said.
The Rams dominated from the start but found it hard going on the unusually short Italo Stars pitch. They had to modify their usual trademark lightning fast attacks and play patient controlled football. Stars were just sending long balls from the backline to their strikers however Packham, Morhaus and Mitch McGrath had them covered. Rams Aaron Richter-Steers, Layton Barton and Lachlan Dewar were a class above the Stars midfield and distributed the ball to Sam Robson, Yantra Whitling and Jonno Pierce on the flanks with little opposition. The attacks came thick and fast and striker Tommy Ruhl had his chances however Stars were loading the goal mouth and at ½ time the score was still 0-0.
The Rams frustration was taking its toll and just minutes into the 2nd half, usually mild mannered Dewar had a momentary lapse of reason and received 2 yellow cards and his marching orders for dissent. It left a big hole in the midfield and compounded the task. It was at the 70 minute mark that the Stars right winger made another break down the wing, evaded McGrath and took the ball all the way along the back line and managed to slam it into the net taking the Rams by surprise. Byron came back fighting and just 3 minutes later Robson sped up the left flank, slipped around the defenders and got a cross away to Packham moving forward on the far side of goal. Packham slammed it into the net to even the score 1-1.
At 80 minutes Ruhl slipped a pass to Barton who was having a “blinder” in midfield, mowing down any opposition in his way. Barton ploughed through the middle and put a precision shot past the keeper into the bottom right of the Stars net. It’s no wonder they call him Iron Man. The Rams fans leapt with deafening whoops of joy and the Rams kept dominating till the final whistle. The 3 points were sweet and well deserved.