Story & photo Dogwhistle
After last week’s first loss of the season, to the Richmond Rovers, the Park Hotel Byron Bay Rams took to their home ground on Saturday determined to make amends.
An ambitious Alstonville squad was equally determined to give the championship leaders a run for their money.
The Rams reserves, battling to keep their finals hopes alive, opened the account in a tough and gritty encounter with a fourth-placed Villa.
An early goal from stand-in striker Connor Cannon was answered by Alstonville and the match went into the break locked at 1–1. A very soft pair of yellow cards saw a career-first red to Tane Meek that rallied the Rams and a cracking goal from Jonathan Pierce broke the deadlock. The 10-man Byron squad took control for the remainder of the match and a late goal from Steve Kilpatrick sealed a gutsy 3–1 win. Outstanding work from Theo Pavil, Jono Pierce, Ben Ahern, Tai Flanagan and young keeper Isaac.
In the Premier Division match, the Rams’ top squad were frequently forced onto the back foot by an enthusiastic Alstonville team bent on taking points from the reigning champions.
The Rams retained the upper hand, however, with tireless Byron mid Kazahiro Tsukamoto a major force throughout the game. A constant threat to the Villa defence, Kaz had a hand in all three of the Byron goals. A Kazahiro cross to Connor Cannon, who found the net, opened the scoring for Byron in the second half.
With two more goals from Barry Woods and Lachie Dewar, Byron looked to have the game well in hand but a late surge from the young Alstonvillers yielded a second goal and had the Rams defending hard down to the wire for a 3–2 win.
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