Story & photo Dogwhistle
Finally playing their first home game of the Summer Youth League season gave little advantage to the Byron Bay FC Wildcats and Rams last Friday night. The Cavanbah Centre pitch was in great condition but a strong northerly and some blustery rain made it tough going for all concerned.
Down a few starters, the girls faced another quality team from the Mullumbimby/Brunswick Valley club and, despite some valiant defending and plenty of action up front, the Wildcats went down 4–0.
The young Qantm-SAE Rams looked like getting the better of the much-fancied Mullumbimby/Brunswick boys for most of their match.
The two sides were fairly evenly matched early on with Byron looking to have upper hand. Adam Budd opened the account for the Rams with a blistering 25-metre strike at the twenty-minute mark.
A defensive lapse in the Byron box saw Mullum/Bruns equalise five minutes later. In the dying minutes of the second half, Sam Shepherd bustled his way through the Mullum defence, tapped a fumbled ball through and hurdled the prone keeper to take Byron’s second goal.
Two minutes into the second half and yet more confusion in the Byron defence allowed Mullum yet another equaliser. A few moments later, midfielder Ronan Karup made a terrific flanking run and delivered a pinpoint cross to Shepherd whose clean finish took Byron back to a 3–2 lead.
Moments later, another desperate scramble in the Byron goalmouth saw Mullum equalise for the third time after several pokes at goals and some quick deflections from Byron’s defenders and keeper.
Twenty-five minutes into the second half, Mullumbimby/Brunswick finally took the lead after a tense one-on-one with keeper Griffin Bambach. With just four minutes remaining, hopes of a Rams victory faded when a chip shot cleared keeper Griffin and gave the Mullum boys a two-point margin.
Byron Bay then scrambled to take back the upper hand and a gritty third goal in the 60 seconds from Sam Shepherd took the final score to Mullumbimby Brunswick 5, Byron Bay SAE-Qantm Rams 4.
It was another tough and entertaining performance from the Rams in the lead-up to their clash with table-leader Lennox Head this week at Skennars Head.
The girls kick-off at 6.30pm and the boys at 8pm.