Rams keep Anzac Cup hopes alive with big win over Bluedogs
BYRON Bay has kept its hopes for consecutive appearances in Football FNC's Tursa Employment and Training Anzac Cup final alive in emphatic fashion.
The Rams are looking to progress in this season's competition after hammering Bangalow 4-1.
After a first-up loss to last year's final opponents Lismore Thistles, the major premiers needed to win Sunday's contest - and they were in no mood to mess around.
A scoreless first half was played at a slow tempo, but the game came to life after the restart with a brilliant solo goal from Bluedogs striker Taha Belaazziz.
Stung, the Rams responded with two goals from new Irish striker Connor Cannon, another from Japanese midfielder Kazi Tsukamato and a fourth from Dakota Dixon King.
"We had to up the ante in the second half when our fitness told," Rams coach Damon Bell said.
"It's great to have the first round of bragging rights."
Evergreen midfielder Darren Beardow once again showed his class, heading in a late goal to give a 10-man Lismore Thistles a dramatic 2-1 away win over Richmond Rovers.
It was a classic derby between the local rivals, with Rovers starting the better and taking the lead through Luke McWaide's penalty.
Thistles equalised just before the break when Matt Armstrong's angled shot gave Rovers 'keeper Andrew Marshall no chance.
Early in the second half Thistles defender Zac Wilson was sent off for a second yellow card, but against the odds the Blues won the match when Beardow cleverly deflected a near-post corner into the Rovers net.
Lismore Workers survived a spirited performance from Alstonville, with a late goal from Bill Latimer helping them secure a 1-1 away draw.
Pacey Villa striker Liam Giles gave his side the edge with a well-taken goal from a Josh Cowan cross, but they were denied a memorable win when Latimer headed in a Clint Willoughby free-kick three minutes from time.
Ballina won its first local derby at premier level with Tintenbar, securing an impressive 5-0 away win.
Matt Jeffery, Josh Jackson, Dave Betterridge and Brad Stone all scored, with the 'Bar also conceding an own goal.
Goonellabah also racked up a big win, a 5-2 home result over Lennox Head.
Lloyd Howard scored a double, with Scott Henschell, Daniel Rose and Leroy Duroux also on target.
Sam Ireland and Jarvis Foley scored for the Sharks.