Rovers feast wraps up title
RICHMOND Rovers have confirmed their reputation as the leading club in Football FNC premier league soccer, after clinching their fourth minor premiership in five years with a 6-1 thrashing of Pottsville on Saturday.
Their only threat to the title was last year’s minor premiers Goonellabah, but its 3-1 loss to Thistles leaves Rovers with a six-point buffer going into next week’s final round.
“It’s a great end to what’s been a long, hard season and fitting reward for all the hard work the boys have put in,” coach Gary Smith said.
In front of an appreciative home crowd, Rovers gave Pottsville a footballing lesson and underlined their wealth of goalscoring talent with five different scorers.
While the league’s topscorer Matthew Olley couldn’t find the net, Rovers had plenty of others who could, with goals from Bobby Bugden, Russell Dent, Joel Saye, Shaun Baker and two from Jonathan See.
The comprehensive win stretches Rovers’ unbeaten run to 11 matches and in their current form, yet another premiership double looks well within their grasp.
After 20 years in the premier league, Ballina has one game left to avoid the harsh reality of relegation after suffering a 5-0 away loss to an in-form Lismore Workers.
The Seahorses had a disastrous first half with Adam Izzard sent off, Troy Percival limping off with a torn hamstring and Kurt Walker scoring the opening goal for Workers.
It got no better for the seasiders after the break, as the rampant Redmen ran away with the game with goals from Martin Kelleher, Cameron Hyde, Josh O’Driscoll and a second from Walker. Ballina are vying with Casino to avoid relegation.
Lismore Thistles have tightened their grip on third place, after ending a five-game winless streak with a much-needed 3-1 home win over Goonellabah.
The two sides were locked at 1-1 at halftime after Matthew Parrish opened the scoring for Thistles and Cameron Rippon equalised for the Hornets.
But two quick goals soon after the restart turned the game Thistles’ way, with Jakeb Speers and Parrish finding their way through the Hornets defence.
After going six games without a win, Byron Bay has rediscovered its scoring touch, rattling up a 5-1 away win over a lacklustre Alstonville.
Rams striker Jordy Campbell scored from a free kick for a 1-0 halftime lead, before they overwhelmed Villa in the second half with further goals from Kazuhiro Tsukamoto, Tom Ruhl, Sam Owens and another from Campbell.
POINTSCORE TABLE – PREMIER DIVISION: Richmond Rovers 39, Goonellabah 33, Thistles 29, Workers 28, Byron Bay 27, Pottsville 19, Italo Stars 18, Alstonville 17, Casino 16, Ballina 13.