Rovers beat rivals Italo Stars
PREMIERS Richmond Rovers are showing signs that their new-look line-up is beginning to gel with a confidence-boosting 3-0 away win over arch rivals Italo Stars on Saturday in Football FNC premier league soccer.
After losing several key players from the squad that won their third consecutive premiership double last year, Rovers had lost two of their five games.
But the important win over Stars provided some promising signs for the premiers, with their emerging players having a major impact.
Flankers Bobby Bugden and Jacob Heffernan were effective out wide and the pace of Jonathan See and Jessie Hartman cut Stars’ defence to shreds at times.
While Stars held Rovers scoreless in the first half, goalkeeper Dallas Guthrie had to pull off some desperate saves to keep them in the game, before Rovers took control in the second half.
See capitalised on a clumsy defensive error from Stars to score the opening goal, before player-coach Tim Sheridan netted their second with a freakish downward header from a corner, that bounced over Guthrie’s head.
Hartman used his pace to open up Stars’ defence for a third goal in the dying moments.
Rovers now share second place with Byron Bay, six points adrift of competition leader Goonellabah.
A first-half send-off cost an already depleted Thistles dearly at Byron Bay, allowing the Rams to bang in four goals in the second half and run out 5-2 winners.
Byron flanker Tim Knight scored the opening goal of a tough, physical contest, but Thistles’ inspirational captain Darren Beardow hit back with two goals by half-time to give the Blues the lead.
But not long before the break a second yellow card for Nathan McCann saw the Blues reduced to 10 men, allowing Byron to get on top in the second half.
Two goals from captain Tom Ruhl, one from Yantra Whitling and the first for 17-year-old Batok Thonkol allowed the Rams to maintain their share of second place.