The Byron Bay Rams maintained their unbeaten record and first place on the ladder but they were made to fight for it in a 2–1 win over South Lismore playing at home.
It looked to be a routine performance 30 minutes in as the Rams were already two goals up, but a spirited fightback from the Celtics gave Byron a genuine scare.
The game started well for the home team when Zahi Addis was brought down in the box in the opening five minutes, allowing Ethan Archer to convert from the penalty spot.
Byron soon doubled their lead following a wonderful run from Harry Barlow. The midfielder beat three South Lismore defenders before delivering a perfect cross for Addis to score his fourth goal in four games.
Despite the dominant performance, things soon went pear-shaped for Byron when a rare lapse of concentration allowed South Lismore to score just before halftime: the first time Byron’s defence had been beaten all season.
From that moment on, it was a backs-to-the-wall performance from Byron Bay.
Struggling to maintain possession and field position in the second half, Byron were forced to batten down the hatches and hold on against a Souths outfit who were desperate for an equaliser.
South Lismore needed a win to launch themselves back into premiership contention and they threw everything at Byron, but ultimately struggled to consistently penetrate a gallant Rams defence.
Their best chance came in the final minute when they looked certain to equalise but Pierce Essery pulled off an impressive double save to secure the win for Byron Bay.
The match was a great learning opportunity for the young Byron Bay team who showed they had the ability to win tough matches when the situation needed it.
Byron now have three away games in a row starting with a trip to Casino Cobras on Friday. Kick-off is 8pm at Colley Park.