Byron has 1-1 draw with Bangalow
BYRON Bay is in danger of losing its grip on a top five berth after struggling to an uninspiring 1-1 home draw with last-placed Bangalow on Saturday in Football FNC premier league soccer.
After three straight losses, Byron Bay was hoping its local derby against the Bluedogs would herald a return to form but simple mistakes and a lack of cohesion once again cost the Rams dearly.
Bangalow were first to score midway through the first half when a cross from former Ram Alex Cruze was headed in by striker Aryan Fereisch.
Byron managed to draw level just before half-time when Jonathan Pierce slotted a tidy side foot finish from the edge of the box before a scoreless second half left the points shared.
“We’re struggling at the moment, we can’t deny it,” admitted Rams coach Peter Ware.
“Our combinations aren’t clicking and simple mistakes are still hurting us and as a result we’ve lost the momentum we had earlier in the season.
“But the boys will come good, we just need to find a bit of self belief.”
Midfielders Yantra Whitling and Jonathan Pierce were best for the Rams, while for Bangalow consistent midfielder Joel Rudgley was again among their best along with Ricky Small in defence and Fereisch up front.
Bangalow were left to rue two late chances that could have snatched a win, with coach Alex Pratt saying, “We had the better of possession and play and should have edged them out.”
The result leaves Byron still clinging to fourth place but with Ballina and Thistles both three points behind with two games in hand the Rams’ place in the top five is in jeopardy.
Italo Stars are showing signs of improvement, notching up their second win of the season with a 1-0 away result over Lismore Workers on Friday night.
Constant rain and a soggy Richards Oval made conditions difficult for both sides, with a second half goal from Jeremy Pollard enough to give Stars the points.
Usually a midfielder, Pollard was moved into the striking role by coach Rick Austen and after some good lead up play from Bill Latimer, Pollard made no mistake when he found himself one on one with the ’keeper.
“Conditions were tough, but we’re starting to play with a bit of structure now and we created several other good chances so I think we deserved the win,” Austen said.
Pollard and Latimer both had strong games for Stars, along with Josh Pascoe in the unaccustomed role of striker, while a depleted Workers missed their key playmaker, Anthony Alvos.
The remaining three matches were all washed out on Saturday, including the much-anticipated top of the table clash between Goonellabah and Richmond Rovers, along with Thistles home game against Ballina and the Alstonville v Pottsville match.