West meets East showdown

[singlepic id=125 w=500 float=none]

Rams defender Ian Lennie (in black & white stripes) taking control of the backline

[singlepic id=285 float=right]Newly promoted Casino Cobras Premiers squad travelled to Byron Bay on Sunday to test their strength in a pre-season Premier League football clash. Casino won last years FFNC 1st division men’s competition and were full of confidence in the hot conditions. They were looking to prove themselves in front of the very large crowd . Both sides seemed to be pacing themselves in the hot conditions for the first 20 minutes. However there were some heavy clashes as the strikers from both teams looked for openings in the defences. At the 25 minute mark Tim Knight made a quick break and found Jordy Campbell manoeuvring in front of goal. Campbell gave the Cobras goal keeper no chance with a clinical finish to take the lead. 17 minutes later Corey Montgomery shot past the Casino flank defence and flicked another cross to Campbell just outside the penalty area. He took a touch and slammed it into the net giving the Rams a 2 goal buffer going into the half time break.

Casino did their best to contain the pace of the Rams; however the shear speed of Korhan Ozakman, Montgomery, Kazihiro Tsukamoto and Knight cut the Cobras defences to shreds. However some of the passing went a little astray and will be something the Rams will need to work on. Casino had some powerful and skilful players in the midfield however they were outclassed by Sam Owen, Tom Ruhl and Bruce Morehaus who moved the ball around brilliantly.

With a buffer in hand and confidence growing Byron coach John Sowter told his lads to “relax and entertain the crowd” and they did. At times they took Casino completely out of the game with some sublime passing. We saw some beautiful ball control at pace and the talented Cobras goalkeeper was working overtime with the Rams frontline taking plenty of shots on goal. At the 76 minute mark young Sam Robson chipped the ball to Tommy Ruhl who slammed a header past the overworked Casino keeper sending the Byron fans into a frenzy. A few minutes later Tom Ruhl took a quick corner kick and found Tsukamoto who amazed everyone with his ball control he turned on the line and squeezed the ball past the Casino defence taking the score line to 4-0.

The incredible heat took its toll on both teams however the experienced Rams outfit seemed to cope much better. The work rate of Robson, Campbell, Ian Lennie, Sam Owen and brothers Jonno and Nolan Pierce was inspiring. The last 10 minutes was sheer hell for the Casino backline as the Rams kept pounding their goal forcing the keeper to put his body on the line time and again. With 5 minutes to go Campbell received a cross from right wing and he took his hat trick with another clinical finish. In the final seconds Sam Owen made a sublime controlled turn in front of goal and deceived the keeper taking the final score to a massive 6-0 win.

After the game Sowter commented “I’m pretty happy but I don’t think Casino were as well prepared as they will be next time we play them. We still have some work to do before another series of pre- season games against Tugun next Sunday. We entertained the crowd and played some great football and that’s what it’s about.”

In the earlier game the young Premier Reserves team also beat Casino 2-0. They had the help of legendary Aaron Richter-Steers. He got back into the swing scoring his first goal coming back from knee surgery. Backing up on the field, top grade Premiers goalkeeper Layton Barton also scored a goal in the reserves game. Coach Shane Barton was happy with the play. “Kare Isaac and Farren Latham-O’Brien were moving forward well from the outside flanks, creating a lot of chances. Toby Barton and Richter-Steers were rock solid in defence."

Rick Knight