Single goal delivers Workers victory over Thistles in Derby
A SOLITARY goal from quicksilver striker Ben Coulter proved to be enough for Workers to clinch a tense 1-0 home win over Thistles in a Far North Coast premier league soccer Lismore local derby on Saturday.
The game was just seven minutes old when Coulter used his pace to breeze past his marker and chip Blues goalkeeper Brad Robertson.
The early goal settled the Redmen and they went on to have the better of the first half, with Coulter's pace continuing to threaten the Blues' defence.
Thistles also crafted a couple of chances that went untaken, and they lifted after the break to have Workers under pressure at times.
But the Workers defence, marshalled by Jay Keevers and Rick Austen, withstood the challenge, with the result leaving the two sides sharing third place.
Thistles' loss allowed Richmond Rovers to leapfrog the Blues into second place thanks to a comfortable 5-0 away win over Ballina.
Striker Jonathan See took another step towards clinching the Golden Boot award, with two more goals taking his tally to 23, five clear of his nearest rival, Byron Bay's Connor Cannon.
Russell Dent, Reid Brewer Charles and Matthew Olley also found their way through a leaky Ballina defence.
The return of Olley after a long-term knee injury is an encouraging sign for Rovers, with the 2011 Player of the Year and Golden Boot winner a welcome addition to their strike power.
After its first loss of the season last week, league leader Byron Bay bounced back with a 3-2 home win over a plucky Alstonville.
Flanker Kazi Tsukamato had a big influence on the game, playing a role in the lead-up to all three of the Rams' goals for Connor Cannon, Barry Woods and Lachlan Dewar.
Goals from Phil Francis and Liam Giles kept a spirited Villa in the contest right to the end, but the Rams hung on for a return to their winning ways and can now wrap up the minor premiership with a win over Bangalow next weekend.
Goonellabah took a giant stride towards ensuring premier league survival with a 4-1 away win over relegation rival Tintenbar.
Two goals from Dave Annetts gave the Hornets a handy lead by half-time and they went on with the job with further goals from Daniel Ferguson and Liam Kelly.
Tintenbar's goal came from Andy Soelkner, but they are now alone at the foot of the ladder and their first season in the top flight looks likely to end in relegation.
Bangalow tightened its grip on fifth place with a 2-1 home win over Lennox Head yesterday.
Goals from Daniel Bensley and Aryan Feresch helped the Bluedogs establish a five-point buffer over sixth-placed Alstonville.