Goonellabah midfielder Kurt Stephens, who was in good form against Bangalow last Saturday as the Hornets came away with a 2-1 win. PHOTO: STEVE MACKNEY
Goonellabah midfielder Kurt Stephens, who was in good form against Bangalow last Saturday as the Hornets came away with a 2-1 win. PHOTO: STEVE MACKNEY

‘All-out attack’ from Bangalow Bluedogs in FFA Cup clash

BANGALOW will carry the region’s hopes when they take on the Urunga Raiders in the fourth round of the nationwide FFA Cup soccer knockout today.

The Bluedogs have the home advantage for the 2pm kick-off but they will not be helped by the absence of two key players in stylish midfielder Ihsan Savran and playmaker Joel Rudgley.

Coach Neil Fuller will stick with their usual attacking game plan.

“We won’t be playing a cautious, defensive game; we play our best when it’s all-out attack,” he said.

And he has the players to execute the plan with a deadly front line of Josh Cole, Byron Milne and Sam Ireland, a former Urunga player.

The Raiders earned their place by winning the North Coast Football knockout stage, and are coming second in their premier league.

With a massive goal difference of 30 after just six rounds, the Raiders can obviously score plenty of goals themselves, so the Bluedogs’ defence led by Ricky Small and Connor Benfield will need to be at its best.

The winner will progress to the Northern NSW region quarter-finals.

‘In it to win it’

AN ambitious Goonellabah will look to stake its claim as a genuine premiership contender by upsetting Byron Bay on the Rams’ home turf in Far North Coast premier league soccer today.

A win for the Hornets would steal second place from Byron and stop the premiership becoming a two-horse race between the Rams and Richmond Rovers.

“We’re in it to win it,” Hornets coach Brendan Logan said.

“I think the premiership is actually a four-way tussle, with Bangalow also in with a chance, so this is a must win game for us.”

Logan will be able to field a full-strength side with the return of captain John Eakin and striker Lloyd Howard, who missed the 2-1 win over Bangalow last Saturday.

The Hornets will need big games from their talented midfield duo of Kaiden Powell and Anthony Wraight, whose battle with the Rams’ Quinn McDonald and Herick Schuenemann could turn the game.

Byron Bay have sriker Tyson Kaye and Jonathan Pierce out but key defender Josh McInerney returns, as they look to extend their unbeaten record. Finisher Aaron Walker bagged four goals in the rout of Italo Stars last week.

Kick-off is 3pm.

Elsewhere, a resurgent Workers will look to build on their big win over Lennox by taking the points in their home clash with Casino today at 5pm, while Thistles will be chasing four straight wins in a home game against Stars tomorrow at 2.30pm.



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