Rams first through to premier league soccer grand final
BYRON BAY have booked their place in the Far North Coast premier league soccer grand final with a 3-1 over Bangalow.
The Rams took an early lead at the Byron Bay Recreation Ground on Saturday through Gianluca Bongiovanni before Bangalow captain Scott Fuller pulled one back on the stroke of half-time.
Byron Bay regained the lead through a Sam Owens strike early in the second half before Joel Wood tucked home his 18th goal of the season in the dying moments to seal the win.
Coach Damon Bell was pleased his side got the result in a scrappy contest.
"It wasn't the prettiest game,” he said.
"They're a hard side to play, very physical and they work hard, which makes it a very scrappy sort of game.
"When we did have the ball we strung together some good passes.
"I thought it was a decent performance.”
Bangalow coach Neil Fuller said defensive errors had cost his side.
"We were a bit unlucky considering the chances we created,” he said.
"Against a side like that we can't make defensive errors because they'll capitalise.
"We could work on our midfield defensively a little bit; I thought we were a bit overrun there.”
Bangalow will now face Richmond Rovers in the preliminary final following Rovers' 4-1 win over Goonellabah at Bill Harris Field, East Lismore, on Friday night.
Rovers came out firing and led 3-0 at the break thanks to a Luke McWaide double and a Jonathan See goal.
Kurt Walker added the fourth just moments after half-time.
Kurt Stephens pulled one back for Goonellabah mid- way through the second half but it proved too little too late as Rovers ran out 4-1 winners.
Rovers coach Todd Jones was pleased with his side's intensity.
"We turned up tonight,” he said.
"We showed urgency, we wanted the ball, we were up for it - we knew that after last week's performance we had to turn up and do some- thing for our crowd.”
Goonellabah coach Renato Cheli said defensive frailty had cost his side.
"Despite playing well in patches we didn't create too many chances and we were a little bit soft in that defensive third,” he said.
"Credit to Rovers, though, they took their chances.”