Goal Fest at the Bay

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Tommy Ruhl midair

[singlepic id=285 float=right]Tugun FC was the latest club to feel the wrath of the Byron Bay Rams Premier League squad at home last Sunday. Tugun plays in the fiercely competitive Gold Coast 1st division. New Rams coach John Sowter has been testing player combinations in a series of trial gams in the lead up to the FFNC Anzac Cup competition. It didn’t take long before Tommy Ruhl and Jordy Campbell entertained and took pot shots on the Tugun goal in quick succession. At the 15-minute mark Campbell tore up the Tugun defences again and flicked a pass to Bruce Morhaus to score and take an early lead.

10 minutes later Rams keeper Layton Barton cleared a huge kick and found Campbell and passed a high ball to Ruhl. He took a touch and skilfully flicked it over his head deceiving a defender and struck it with his left foot past the keeper 2-0.

Soon after, a Tugun defender brought Korhan Ozakman down just outside the penalty box. From the free kick Ian Lennie sent a cracking header onto the crossbar. The Rams were outclassing Tugun all across the park and in a brilliant end to end display at the 35 minute mark Campbell drove up through the middle and sent a pass out wide to Yantra Whitling. He crossed in front of goal with Ruhl and Campbell waiting. Campbell headed the pass well passed the keeper taking the score to 3-0.

Ten minutes later Whitling controlled a clearance kick from Barton 30 metres from the Tugun goal. He turned around a defender, dribbled a short distance and sent an unstoppable strike into the net 4-0. In the final few minutes of the half some there was some sloppy, complacent defence in the Rams goalmouth. Barton couldn’t clear the ball and it allowed Tugun’s Joel Patterson to shoot and score 4-1.

There was a definite change of pace in the 2nd half and the Rams allowed Tugun back into the game and test the Rams defence. However Morhaus and Lennie had it covered. Ryan Gray, Cory Montgomery and Campbell kept taking shots on the Tugun goal. At the 61 minute mark Ruhl sent a free kick across field to Campbell manoeuvring in the goal area. He took on the keeper and tapped a high ball through his arms to score his 2nd goal. 5-1.

Tugun were in tatters and a few minutes later Campbell made a beautiful deceptive turn to control a ball to ex Byron Reserves keeper Ryan Gray. He signalled his return from Brunswick Valley FC as a talented field player with a deft shot on goal to score the 6th Rams goal.

Although Tugun were seriously outclassed, the Rams kept entertaining the crowd with their beautiful ball skills. With fifteen minutes to go Ruhl shot a diagonal pass to Campbell on the right of goal, the Tugun defence forced him to the back line however he somehow managed to release an acute angle shot behind the keeper and score his second hat trick in 3 games. It left the despondent Tugun players shaking their heads with a final score line of 7-1. Earlier in the day the reserves team were unlucky going down to Tugun 3-2.

With the Rams top squad scoring 18 goals in the last 3 outings and only conceding 2, it has given them some real confidence. However the Rams start their 2011 premier League campaign in earnest this Friday night and no doubt will be thoroughly tested against a tough Italo Stars outfit at Barrow lane in the first round of the FFNC Anzac Cup.

Rick Knight

West meets East showdown

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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