No joy in Coffs ...

The Byron Bay Rams made the long trip down to Coffs on Friday, July 17 for the Solo Cup quarter Final against South Cardiff from the NBN State League. With Nolan Pierce down with the flu and Bruce Morehouse, Sam Owens, Kazahiro Tsukamoto, and Aaron Richter-Steers injured or away, the line-up was as follows:

Layton Barton in goal, Toby Barton, Sam Robson, Mav White and Ian Lennie at the back, Shannan Maciejewski, Yantra Whitling, Jonno Pierce and Tommy Ruhl in mid field with Ryan Gray and Jordy Campbell up front. On the bench were Corey Montgomery, Tom Baker, Herick Scheunemann and Farren Latham-O’Brien. After three consecutive away games, another trip to Coffs was not too daunting and the squad headed down on Friday night so that the players could be rested and raring to go come kick-off time on Saturday.

Despite a good night’s sleep, the depleted Rams squad made a hesitant and lack-lustre start. Layton made two good saves in the opening minutes only to concede a goal eight minutes in. The setback spurred the Rams into action and they worked hard to get back into the game. The equaliser came from Jordy Campbell after a good control-and-turn and a cracking finish.

With South Cardiff attacking at will down our right flank, Toby Barton and Jonno Pierce were switched to try to stem the flow. Pierce found the going just as tough and couldn’t contain the South Cardiff onslaught. South Cardiff again took the lead with another move down that side.

The score-line held at 2-1 down at the break thanks to some great goal-keeping from Layton and sterling work from Mav White and Ian Lennie.

The second half saw Pierce make way for Corey Montgomery, the Rams hoping his fresh legs and pace may contain Cardiff’s seemingly easy run down our right.

The Cardiff attack was relentless and goals 3 and 4 quickly followed – again from the right. Toby Barton came off and Mav White moved to right back while Tommy Ruhl made way for Herick Scheunemann.

The first two chances of the half fell to the Rams but Cardiff’s seeming ease of passage down our right flank was astonishing.

The Rams didn’t give up however, and their consolation second goal from Campbell was well deserved.

It was not a great day for the Rams, with key players missing and a few others ‘off-song’. While it was disappointing to have gotten this far only to perform at less than our best, it speaks volumes about the character of the squad that we managed to stay in it until the end.

Lennie, White, Campbell and Layton Barton were outstanding with ‘Man-of-the-Match’ honours shared between Layton and Jordy.

The Rams return to action in the FFNC Premier League against Ballina at Saunders Oval this Sunday with a 2:30pm kick-off.

John Sowter

No rest for the Rams this weekend

Click here to read the story on the Northern Rivers Echo website

Byron Bay’s Nolan Pierce in action last week against Lismore Workers in the Solo State Cup in Lismore.

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Football is in recess for all but a few teams over the long weekend, with two scheduled matches only in the Southern Cross Credit Union Men’s Premier Division. Although there are still many games to be played from previous rounds due to washouts, most fields will sit idle this week. In the only game to be played over the holiday weekend, Byron Bay will travel to Casino at 3pm on Monday and look to consolidate their position in the top five.

The Rams took a long time to get into stride last week in their Solo Cup clash with Lismore Workers, eventually winning three goals to one. Jordy Campbell led the way up front and showed his experience and class, making him a handful for the defence. Byron Bay has an array of talent and experience, making them a dangerous side. Seasoned campaigner Bruce Morhaus will miss this clash after being sent off against Thistles and although his absence will be a loss, the depth in the Ram’s squad should compensate. A leg injury to Sam Owens may cause another change to the side that will be wary of Casino’s recent form. A loss last week against the Hornets may have tempered the Casino confidence a little but they have shown their competitiveness, having moved safely off the bottom of the table. Zac Innes and Dean Casey are really benefiting from being around hardened players, John Wraight, Trent Battistuzzi and Wayne Mortimer. Tuesday night sees Goonellabah and Lismore Thistles play their postponed match when they meet at Weston Park at 6.30pm. Goonellabah’s position on the ladder is not reflected in their performances with three catch up matches still to play. This is a big game for both sides, with the two sides sharing second place behind leader Richmond Rovers. Big Max Hospers continues to impress at the back for Thistles and has been a tower of strength. Coach Paul Parmenter will hope that Brenton Parrish will be available to support Jake Nind. The Hornets are desperate to build some momentum after so many disruptions and hopefully the sun will shine all week as Weston Park is soft and still susceptible to closure. With Kale Hopper and Matt Dorigo controlling the midfield, they always look balanced and composed. We can expect an exciting open game as conditions continue to improve. Let’s hope the weather is as positive as our enthusiasm to crank things up for part two of season 2011.

Steve Mackney, Football Far North Coast

Rams advance to Solo Cup quarter finals

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Solo Cup: Jordy Cambell v Vinicius Leite

Saturday, June 4, Byron Rams met Lismore Workers at Lismore’s Oakes Oval for the third round of the Solo sponsored NNSWF State Cup.

It was the Rams third away game on the trot in the Solo campaign and, despite another wet week, the game kicked off in bright sunshine. The Rams line up was Layton Barton in goal, Toby Barton, Sam Robson, the returning Ian Lennie and Nolan Pierce in the back four, Aaron Richter-Steers, Sam Owens and Bruce Morhaus in mid-field and Kazahiro Tsukamoto, Tom Ruhl and Jordy Campbell up front. Byron had the better of the early play with incursions down both flanks and dangerous crosses from Owens and Morhaus.

Disaster struck in the 15th minute when Sam Owens handled the ball in the box. Former Byron player Baitok Thoingkol calmly slotted home the resulting penalty.

The Rams kept their composure and continued to press, dominating the game with the majority of possession.

A hamstring injury picked up in training saw Owens replaced by Corey Montgomery in the 18th minute. Injury struck again moments later when Tom Ruhl suffered a recurrence of a calf injury. Yantra Whitling, returning from his own injury spell, filled the vacancy. With two of the three allowed substitutions used up, the Rams were walking on a wire.

As play flowed from end to end, an equaliser was inevitable. A Pierce through-ball was superbly controlled by Campbell, who stormed through the defence and calmly drove it home. Several more chances went begging at both ends and while Byron looked the more threatening team, we went into the break at one each.

The second half continued in much the same vein. Workers played some pretty but ineffective football in their own half while Byron took a more direct and threatening route to the goal. Workers relied on the pace of Baitok and their Brazilian import Vinicius Leite but the Rams defence coped well with everything they had. Pierce and Lennie were superb at the back and, when Workers did break through, Laton, in imperious form, never looked troubled.

After a defensive error, Layton did well to shepherd a Workers’ forward wide and was fortunate when Baitok missed the cross from a metre out.

This proved to be the turning point of the game, with Morhaus, Montgomery, Whitling, Campbell and Kazahiro overwhelming the young Workers backs. The Rams reverted to a more traditional 4-4-2 to combat Workers’ extra midfielder and the switch worked well with Yantra Whitling back to form after a long injury lay off.

Strong penalty appeals wer twice turned down by the referee after two apparent hand-balls in the Workers box. The Rams again maintained focus and a great through ball from Kazahiro sent Jordy through for a calm and clinical finish in the 74th minute. Montgomery went down injured in 75th minute and was replaced by final substitute, Shannan Maciejewski who slotted straight into central mid-field while Yantra moved wide.

Byron kept up the pressure, forcing six corners in rapid succession, but failed to capitalise on some good deliveries. The game was sealed with a third goal in the 86th minute when the Workers’ goalkeeper half-parried a Whitling shot into his own net. It was a goal Whitling thoroughly deserved after a tremendous performance off the bench.

The Rams displayed maturity and composure in overcoming the early goal and the loss of Ruhl and Owens.

All players put in a tremendous effort. Campbell led the line well, worked hard and was rewarded with two goals. Kazahiro was his usual tireless self, Nolan Pierce and Ian Lennie were excellent at the back and Aaron Richter Steers was – as always – cool, calm and collected in the hole. Sam Robson played well down the left and Toby Barton was steady on the right.

A great achievement for the Bay, the first FFNC team to reach the last quarter finals of the State Cup.

John Sowter

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Solo Cup: Aaron Richter-Steers v Workers

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Solo Cup: Byron Bay v Workers

Bay claims first finals spot

Byron Bay clashed with Lismore Workers at Oakes Oval on Saturday, where Nolan Pierce and Baitok Ring fought over the ball.(photo courtesy of The Northern Star)

 

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BYRON Bay has become the first club from Football FNC to progress to the quarter-finals of the Solo Cup, after a well constructed 3-1 win over Lismore Workers in their third-round clash at Oakes Oval on Saturday.

The Rams had to recover from a disastrous start after conceding a penalty to Batok Ring and having Tom Ruhl and Sam Owens forced off with injuries in the opening 15 minutes. But a gritty Rams outfit hit back with a through ball from Nolan Pierce releasing striker Jordy Campbell who beat two defenders before smashing the ball into the net to equalise by half-time.

Campbell was a constant menace to the Workers’ defence and gave the Rams the lead with his second goal – again using his pace and strength on the ball to beat defenders before unleashing a clean finish.

A third goal from substitute Yantra Whitling wrapped up a solid win for Byron, who will now contest their quarter-final in either Newcastle or Coffs Harbour, as they chase their share of the $10,000 Solo Cup purse.

Mark Robinson

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