Rams to tackle Rovers in semi-final
BYRON BAY booked a spot in the Far North Coast premier division soccer major semi-final with a 1-0 win over South Lismore at Byron Bay on Saturday.
A Matt Pike goal in extra time proved decisive for the Rams, who will now face Rovers for a spot in the grand final.
In the 105th minute Jonathan Pierce combined with Harper Hain down the right before beating several defenders and sending a ball into the area that was turned home with a first-time finish by Pike.
The win means the Rams are now just one win away from contesting a fifth premier division grand final in six years.
Byron Bay coach Damon Bell said while he was pleased with his side's performance he felt they should have put the game to bed earlier.
"We dominated, there's no question, we had massive amounts of possession, we definitely should've finished it off in real time but we didn't take our chances,” he said.
"We knocked the ball around well, we controlled the game it's just in that final third that final pass is lacking.
"Credit to Souths, though, they defended incredibly well, they were very well disciplined and the goalkeeper made a couple of good saves.”
The clean sheet was Byron's fourth in their past five outings, with Bell full of praise for his defence.
"I'm really happy with the defence at the moment, we're shutting teams out and keeping clean sheets, which always takes you a long way towards results,” he said.
"We have a very good goalkeeper as well in Pierce Essery. He dominates his box very well, he's good in the air and has good distribution; he's probably the best keeper in the league.”
All is not lost for South Lismore, which will now face Bangalow in the elimination minor semi-final.
The Bluedogs ran out 3-0 winners over Lismore Thistles at Bangalow on Friday night, with a goal to Luke Wakefield and a double to Sam Ireland.