Byron Bay FC finally returned to competitive action last week as they faced a strong Alstonville side in their first league match since the COVID-19 break.
Despite taking a first half lead through Diego Vasquez, the Rams were unable to hold on at home, losing 2-1 to a fast-finishing Villa outfit.
It was a fast-paced game early on as Byron held the majority of possession with the visitors content to sit in their own half and wait for counter-attack opportunities.
The Rams’ control of the ball soon paid off when a quarter of the way through the match Vasquez turned as he received the ball on the top of the box, amd scored with a beautiful strike.
Byron continued to pressure the Alstonville defence with a number of half-chances but were unable to increase their lead. In fact, the Rams had keeper Pierce Essery to thank after an impressive one-on-one save from a Villa breakaway to keep the score at 1-0 at half time.
In the second stanza, Alstonville came out with intent and pressed defensively high up the pitch. The change of tactics unsettled Byron Bay who fell out of their rhythm.
With the momentum, Alstonville went on the attack and won a penalty when the referee judged Alby Kay to have fouled an attacker in the box. The visitors converted the penalty to equalise.
The pressure from Villa did not stop after the goal as they continued pressing and winning the ball high up the pitch. Eventually winning a free kick, which found an unmarked player in the box who gave them a 2-1 lead.
All hope was not lost for Byron and the crowd thought they had seen an equaliser when Vasquez hit an incredible free kick towards goal. Unfortunately for the home fans, the ball went the wrong side of the post and slammed into the side netting.
Alstonville showed great football sense and impressive gamesmanship to shut the game down in the late stages and claim their first win of the new season.
Byron Bay FC were next in action on Tuesday 4 August (8pm) when they hosted Lismore Thistles at the Byron Bay Memorial Recreation Grounds this will be followed by another match on Sunday August 9 against Goonellabah (2:30pm kick-off).