ON THE RUN: Thistles striker Matt Bale, right, finds some space during the Blues’ 5-0 win. The Goonellabah player pictured is Jared Morrow.
ON THE RUN: Thistles striker Matt Bale, right, finds some space during the Blues’ 5-0 win. The Goonellabah player pictured is Jared Morrow. STEVE MACKNEY

Rovers win it with 10 men

A 10-MAN Richmond Rovers came from behind for a gutsy 2-1 away win over Lennox Head in Far North Coast premier league soccer.

After the loss of central defenders Luke McWaide and Bobby Bugden for the rest of the season, Rovers had to assemble a new-look backline, with Scott Flynn and Ben Morgan filling their shoes.

But they struggled to contain the Sharks' early raids, which created several clear chances that went untaken.

Midway through the first half the game took a dramatic twist when Rovers goalkeeper Andrew Marshall clattered into Lennox Head's Chris Watts.

Marshall was sent off for the heavy tackle, which left Watts dazed and groggy.

Paul Kirkland put away the ensuing penalty but it only served to spark Rovers into life.

Soon after, a shot from Jonathan See could only be parried by Sharks goalkeeper Jonty Wunsch, allowing Jacob Heffernan to put away the rebound.

Despite being outnumbered, Rovers went on to have the better of the second half, securing the win when Andrew Gray was on hand at the far post to head homea Brad Bugden cross.

"It's one of our gutsiest wins ina long time," Rovers coach Brian Bugden said.

"It wasn't always pretty but we got the job done."

The important win keeps Rovers in third place, with Bugden praising midfield general Russell Dent for his role, along with See, Gray and Andrew Casagrande up front.

Best for a disappointed Lennox were striker Jarvis Foley and 'keeper Wunsch, who made several one-on-one saves.

Alstonville had to survive a scare in their away clash with Tintenbar-East Ballina before keeping their finals hopes alive with a hard-earned 2-1 win.

Despite having Jake O'Grady red-carded, a 10-man Tintenbar took a lead to the break after a goal from their top scorer Steven Clifford.

But Villa slowly wore down their opponents in the second half, with goals from Liam Giles and Andy Collins delivering a vital win.

Undefeated league leader Byron Bay remains eight points clear of second-placed Lismore Thistles after both sides won 5-0.

The Rams' away win over Ballina was highlighted by a hat-trick for lively striker James Tomlinson and two headed goals from Kazi Tsukamato.

The goals were shared around in Thistles' home win over Goonellabah, with Matt Bale, Max Hospers, Zac Wilson, Matt Weir and Ryan Parmenter all finding the net.



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