Cameron Rippon crosses the ball for Goonellabah in the premier league game against Workers at Weston Park, Goonellabah, on Saturday.
Cameron Rippon crosses the ball for Goonellabah in the premier league game against Workers at Weston Park, Goonellabah, on Saturday. Marc Stapelberg

Debut hat-trick works fine

LISMORE Workers midfielder Martin Kelleher announced his arrival in Far North Coast premier league soccer in sensational style, scoring a hat-trick on debut in their 3-1 away win over minor premiers Goonellabah on Saturday.

In his first season with Workers, the SCU sports science student forced his way into the top side after scoring 10 goals in three weeks in reserves and immediately repaid coach Scott Collis for his selection with an early goal.

Goonellabah hit back quickly with an equaliser from Matt Armstrong, but Kelleher again gave Workers the lead after the break, capitalising on a raking cross from Sam Sharkey with another low finish.

The 18-year-old completed his hat-trick with a tap-in after a spilt ball from the goalkeeper, capping a fine individual performance and a memorable day for the Redmen, who out-enthused the Hornets.

“It was our best performance of the year against avery good side and I can’t remember the last time we left Weston Park with good wins in the premiers and reserves,” Collis said.

Along with Kelleher, Cameron Hyde and Josh Wraight had big games for the Redmen, who finished the stronger over an increasingly frustrated Goonellabah.

For the Hornets, the costly loss is a major blow to their hopes for consecutive minor premierships and was made worse by a late red card for key midfielder Kale Hopper, who will now miss their vital game against Byron Bay tomorrow night.

Lismore Thistles have taken the competition lead from Richmond Rovers after clinching all six points from their weekend double-header.

The Blues backed up a 3-2 win over Villa on Saturday with a 3-0 result over the Panthers yesterday.

The win over Villa came thanks to a sensational goal from a Max Toovey free kick, when the scores were locked at 2-all.

The Blues had scored through Jake Nind and Brenton Parrish, while Villa’s new Brazilian signing Daniel Bonesi scored both their goals.

Nind, Jacob Arthur and Matthew Parrish all found the net in the win over the Panthers, who squandered numerous chances to get back into the match in the second half.

Byron Bay also kept its minor premiership hopes alive with a hard-fought 2-1 away win over Pottsville lifting them into third place on the competition ladder.

The Rams produced a well rounded performance with striker Jordy Campbell playing a role in setting up goals for Jonathan Pierce and Yantra Whitling.

Young midfielder Mav White impressed on debut, with Rams captain Ian Lenie and defensive partner Nolan Pierce also standing out, in a good build-up to their crucial game against Goonellabah tomorrow.

Richmond Rovers continued their impressive form with a 6-0 drubbing of Casino on the Cobras’ home turf.

The league’s top scorer Matthew Olley scored twice to take a stranglehold on the Golden Boot award, with Russell Dent, Jonathan See, Bobby Bugden and Ian McGregor also finding the net.

The major premiers are hitting form at the right time of the season. They are now undefeated in their past six games and have kept a clean sheet in their past four.

Casino finished with ten men after a late send-off for Michael Piccoli and are sinking deeper into the relegation zone with just five games left to salvage their place in the league.

Ballina secured what could be a valuable point in its fight to avoid relegation in a 1-all away draw with Italo Stars.

The result lifts Ballina level with Casino on points on the foot of the ladder, but they still trail the Cobras on goal difference.

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