Lennox Sharks set the pace
By MARK ROBINSON LENNOX Head has created a slice if history by moving to the top of Football FNC's Premier League ladder for the first time, after coming from behind for a 3-1 home win over Burringbar on Saturday.
In only their second year in the top ranks, the Sharks are quickly becoming one of the pace-setters in the league and took over top spot after former leader Rovers opened the door with their 3-3 draw against Italo Stars.
But, ironically, the Sharks' achievement came after one of their worst performances so far, with coach Mark Ambler freely admitting, "We didn't play well, we were only at 25 per cent of our last game, but the boys still showed a lot of character to come away with the points."
Lennox had to come from behind after the Bandits snatched an early goal to give the Sharks a fright, but goals from seasoned strikers Troy Percival and Paul Kirkland gave them a 2-1 lead by half time.
Lennox remains the only undefeated side after six rounds and with confidence growing within their well-drilled squad, the odds on the Sharks claiming their first premiership title are shortening.
Rovers slip RICHMOND Rovers has slipped off the top of the ladder, but will be grateful for at least a point after coming from 3-1 behind to snatch a heart-stopping 3-3 draw with Italo Stars at Bill Harris Field on Saturday. Stars opened at a frantic pace while Rovers played a deep defence, inviting dangerous strikers Brenton Mumford and Wayne Mortimer to run at their back line.
And run they did, with Mortimer unlucky not to be given a penalty early on when dragged down in the box, before the whistle was blown after Tim Sheridan brought Mark Maslen down in front of goals.
Max Latimer put away the dot shot to give Stars the edge, but Rovers hit back after some good work on the right flank from Aaron Heffernan, whose cross picked out Troy Matthews for a clinical finish.
Both 'keepers, Andrew Marshall for Rovers and Trent Battistuzzi for Stars, made outstanding saves as the chances began to flow for both sides, but early in the second half Stars regained the lead with another penalty from Max Latimer.
But Rovers hate losing and rallied, triggering a string of corners and pressure on Stars box.
Russell Dent began the fightback with a low free kick that somehow bounced through a crowded box, deceived the 'keeper, bounced off the post and nestled into the net.
The comeback was completed with less than two minutes to go when Ben Cassagrande finished off an attacking raid with a shot into the roof of the net from close range.
Goonellabah win AFTER a slow start to the season, Goonellabah has broken into the top five for the first time after a gritty 2-1 away win over Bangalow.
It was the Hornets third win on the trot and provided a fitting send off for departing stalwart John Eakin, after two decades with the club.
The match opened with a flurry as the Bluedogs stunned Goonellabah, opening a goal after two minutes.
Glen Sheldrick won the ball as the Hornets tried to clear their defence and passed to Sebastian Bell, who made no mistake for his fourth goal of the season.
But Goonellabah hit back immediately from the kick off, Ben Andrews putting a clean finish to a quick attack and whipping cross. Both sides defended well and chances were rare, but the winner eventually came midway through the second half following a corner that degenerated into a goalmouth scramble, allowing Peter O'Neil to stab in the vital goal.
With Bangalow pushing numbers forward in search of an equaliser, the Hornets had late chances on the break but failed to capitalise, leaving the scoreline at 2-1.
Redmen tense THE tension is becoming palpable at Lismore Workers after the Redmen suffered their sixth straight defeat on Saturday, going down 3-1 to Maclean on their home turf at Richards Oval.
Traditionally one of the heavyweights of the League, the Redmen are now seven points adrift in the relegation zone with few signs that things are going to turn around in the near future. The speed and quick-passing game of the Bobcats troubled Workers and after ten minutes Maclean striker Travis Armstrong put a close range finish to some good build up play for the opening goal.
Workers kept hopes alive with a powerfully struck goal from Sam Ferronato just before half time, but the Bobcats regained the lead soon after the restart with a typical pile-driving shot from Kevin Crofton.
The match then turned on a passage of play that sums up Workers season so far.
Inspirational midfielder Anthony Alvos had a shot denied by the woodwork and play immediately surged downfield for Maclean to score their third goal through Aaron Bylos, turning a possible 2-2 into 3-1.
"We just need to break the ice for our first win to lift confidence," said Workers coach Pedro Bezzera.
Bezzera will be encouraged by the good form of 'keeper Brent Casey and emerging midfielder Sam Ferronato, but will be forced to adopt a more defensive strategy. as a blueprint for survival.
Byron works REIGNING premiers Byron Bay were forced to work hard before coming away from Ballina's Saunders Park with a 3-1 win over a spirited Seahorses.
The speed of the Rams attacking game cut Ballina apart through the middle of the paddock for Shaun Packham's opening goal, but the Seahorses quick-breaking game was allowing them to get behind the Bay's defence at times and Daniel Bostock capitalised on one such opportunity for the equaliser.
The match developed into a tough physical clash in the second half, with Byron recapturing the lead.
Ballina's hopes of a fightback were doused when a second yellow card for Dane Seymore saw the central defender sent off, allowing the Rams to wrap up the game with a third goal from Tom Ruhl.
Ballina kept fighting to the end and forced Byron 'keeper Kai Connell to make some vital late saves, but in the end their lean run against the Rams was extended.