Byron Bay FC’s Wildcats and Rams youth teams got off to a flying start in the opening round of the Summer Youth League competition in Casino on Friday night.
The Wildcats got the ball rolling with a resounding 3–0 win over their Casino counterparts.
The Wildcats team is mostly under-16s with a few from both the women’s 3rd and Premier Division teams adding their experience to the summer campaign.
Despite the game being their first outing together, the passing and the coordination were first rate and it wasn’t long before a sublime first touch from Salem Edwards found the top-right corner of the net.
A second goal to Eva Salmon put them two ahead, and long ball from Sarah White beat the keeper to take it to 3–0 before half time.
The Wildcats resisted a spirited fightback from Casino and were pressing hard for more goals when the game was called 25 minutes into the second half due to an injury to a Casino player.
The Byron team will face one of their harder challenges this Friday night in Bangalow playing against the Lismore Thistles.
Returning youth coach and Rams veteran, Jono Pierce, has put together a strong mix of young Byron up-and-comers, two past Byron players from Gold Coast City and a couple of Rams Premier Division mentors.
Despite the impressive line-up, the young Casino squad made the Rams work hard for their three points. The Cobras took the lead early with soaring cross and a gymnastic ‘cow-kick’ goal, ten minutes in.
Two minutes later, a sharp through ball found Aaron Walker, who chipped the keeper to level the score.
Another quick counter from Casino put the Cobras back into to the lead at the twenty-minute mark.
Stung into action, the Rams stepped up their pressing game, hammering the Casino defence and keeper. A perfectly placed corner from Yarbirri Zillig-Vandyke found the head of Prems defender James Tomlinson in the 25th minute and the score was levelled at two apiece.
The Rams new squad began to find their rhythm in the second half and a through ball from tireless Gold Coast midfielder, Sam Shepherd, sent Aaron Walker to the goal to make it 3–2.
The Byron lads turned up the heat for the rest of the session, overwhelming the young Casino keeper with a relentless attack. The final goal came when a flanking run and cross from Zillig-Vandyke sparked a flurry of shots from the Rams attackers, with Walker burying the final deflection to wrap up a sold win.
With Byron’s football fields busy this week, the Byron teams will borrow the Bangalow grounds for the second round of the Championship against Lismore Thistles on Friday night.
The Wildcat girls will kick off at 6.30pm and the young Rams at 8pm.