Hornets hot at home
GOONELLABAH has thrown the Football FNC premier league minor premiership race wide open with a sparkling 4-2 home win over arch rivals Richmond Rovers yesterday.
The clash lived up to expectations with the frenetic pace producing a first half as good as any this year, with four goals by half-time.
The first came from Hornets striker Batok Ring, who pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the box and calmly tucked it into the far corner with a perfectly angled shot.
Rovers were also creating chances from the outset, with Troy Matthews and Kurt Brewer-Charles forcing good saves from Hornets goalkeeper Brad Robertson.
But one brilliant save produced a corner that he could do nothing about, as Reid Brewer-Charles scrambled the ball overthe line to equalise.
The pace and diagonal running of Ring continued to create problems for Rovers' defence, and he restored the Hornets' lead with a breakaway goal soon after.
But again Rovers hit back, Luke McWaide turning in the box to hit a superb curling shot that gave Robertson no chance.
The pace of the game slowed only a little after the break, but eventually the deadlock was broken by persistent goal-mouth pressure from Goonellabah that forced two uncharacteristic errors from Rovers' defence.
The first was a clumsy own goal as they desperately tried to clear a loose ball before a bizarre cross from Jake Heffernan across the face of his own goal gifted Hornets sub Damien Cooper a tap-in.
The impressive win keeps the premiership race a three-way contest, lifting Goonellabah one point above Rovers into second place, with Workers just a point ahead and now on top of the ladder.
The Redmen took top spot and maintained their undefeated record with a workmanlike 3-1 home win over Thistles.
All three goals came from set plays in the second half, with a free kick from Jay Keevers setting up Billy Latimer for the first.
Max Harlen slotted a penalty then Keevers was again involved in their third, drilling a low corner for Zac Innes to finish.
Joel Rudgley scored a late consolation goal for the Blues, but their place in the top five is now under pressure from Alstonville, which joined them in fifth place with a 7-1 home win over Lennox Head.
Rick Hanna continued his rich vein of form with four goals and is now the third highest scorer in the league, behind Workers duo Martin Kelleher and Wayne Mortimer.
Substitute Liam Giles made the most of his 20-minute stint to bag two goals, with another from Nick Steel extending Villa's unbeaten run to four games as they dished up the Sharks' biggest loss of the season.
After three games without a win, Byron Bay bounced back to form with a 7-1 thumping of Casino at Byron Bay.
But Casino kept the relegation battle a three-way contest by backing up yesterday with a 2-1 home win over Stars.
Stars went into the game with cofidence after a 3-2 home win over Ballina on Saturday, Lee Simpson starring with a hat-trick.
Brent Hicks and Luke Kunde scored for the Seasiders, but the loss leaves them now sharing the bottom rung on the ladder with Casino, three points behind Stars.