Rovers' fortunes continue to dip

RICHMOND Rovers’ vision of a fourth consecutive premiership double is starting to look more like a distant mirage after a humiliating 5-3 away loss to Ballina in Football FNC premier league soccer on Saturday.

It all appeared to be going to plan for the premiers when they led 3-1 at the break, but after that they had no answer to a rampant Ballina.

Rovers’ much-vaunted defence has been the cornerstone of their game for years and last season leaked only nine goals in 18 premiership rounds.

But that mark has already been surpassed this year, with 10 goals conceded in just four games.

Striker Troy Percival scored the opening goal for Ballina before Rovers responded with goals from Ian McGregor, Aaron Heffernan and Tim Sheridan before half-time.

But the second half was all Ballina, with midfielders Cerys Hawkins and Dylan Monnox playing leading roles.

Percival scored a second, Hawkins netted two and Jake O’Grady also found his way through a flimsy Rovers defence that failed to track runners from midfield.

Striker Troy Cook also had a strong game for Ballina and set up three goals, while defenders Liam Seymour and Todd Jones stood out at the back in the Seahorses’ biggest win over Rovers for years.

“It’s good to see what we’ve been training paying off on the paddock,” a delighted Ballina coach Rod Troughton said.

“The boys stuck to the game plan and in the end produced our best half so far this season.”

Rovers coach Tim Sheridan was direct in his response to the shock result.

“We were complacent and went to sleep and a few changes to our line-up are obviously needed,” he said.

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