The Northern Hotel Byron Bay Rams’ hopes of dual Minor Premiership titles were dealt a blow on Saturday, when both Prems and Reserves went down to Goonellabah Hornets.
Wet weather saw the matches moved to Southern Cross Football’s artificial turf pitch in Lismore. The ‘in-form’ Byron reserves seemed to have the edge in the opening game but could not seem to crack the Goonellabah defence.
Strong counter attacks saw the Goonellabah second stringers take the upper hand and score twice to end the Rams’ run of high-scoring victories.
The reserves need to beat Rovers next Saturday to stay in Premiership contention.
The Premier League match was also fast and fluid affair and, with Byron on the attack from the opening whistle, things were looking good for the Rams.
Byron’s Aaron Walker was first on the scoresheet at the 30-minute mark, slipping through the Hornets’ defence and blasting home the opening goal. Despite some classy and clever football, however, Byron could not get past the Hornets’ keeper again.
A gutsy fight-back from Goonellabah led to an equaliser early in the second half.
A second Hornets goal had Byron on the back foot and the Rams turned up the heat. A skirmish in the Hornets’ goalmouth saw Byron Striker Aaron Walker issued a controversial red card and an early shower. The Rams continued the attack with 10 men but their best efforts failed to yield a comeback and the Hornets took the three points.
The win gives Goonellabah a five-point lead in the competition, with equal-second-placed Rovers also suffering a loss on the day.
The Rams face arch-rivals Rovers in this Saturday’s penultimate round in a what promises to be the match of the season.
Reserves kick off at 1pm and the Prems at 3pm.