Soccer: Big wins set up Anzac Cup showdown
RICHMOND Rovers and Byron Bay have set up an enticing showdown in the Anzac Cup final on Saturday after both sides warmed up with big home wins in the third round of Far North Coast premier league soccer.
The two sides remain unbeaten in the cup and the premiership after Rovers swamped Italo Stars 7-1 and the Rams disposed of a 10-man Lismore Thistles 4-0.
Rovers produced some slick football to outclass an inexperienced and under- manned Stars, with two goals each for Jonathan See and Jake Nind.
Russell Dent, Jacob Heffernan and Ben Morgan also scored, giving Rovers a massive 16 goals from their first three games.
Stars' goal was a magnificent strike from flanker Trevor Vail, but coach Rick Austen has a big challenge to mould the side into a competitive outfit.
Byron Bay's win over Thistles was made easier for the Rams when the Blues had Zach Wilson sent off just before half-time for a heavy tackle.
The Rams led 1-0 at the break thanks to an Aaron Walker goal, then went on with the job with further goals to Ben Ahern, Quinn McDonald and Tyson Kaye.
With Byron Bay and Rovers getting through their games unscathed, both teams should be at full strength for what looms as one of the best Anzac Cup finals in years.
Bangalow continues to build into a formidable combination with an impressive 5-1 home win over Lismore Workers lifting them into fourth place.
The writing was on the wall early when Rory Devlin scored for the Bluedogs in the first minute.
Josh Cole continued his good early form with two more goals, while Luke Wakefield and Byron Milne also found their way through Workers' shaky defence.
The lone goal for the Redmen came from a cheeky Matt Keevers chip from a kick-off at half-way, catching Bangalow goalkeeper Dan Morgan off his line.
Casino has broken the ice for its first win, stealing a 3-2 away result against a falter- ing Alstonville.
Two set play goals from Nathan Scully and an own goal from Villa gave the Cobras something to defend and, while Rick Hanna scored twice, Alstonville couldn't find an equaliser in a frantic finish.
Goonellabah continues to build momentum with an 8-0 home mauling of Lennox Head yesterday.
Matt Weir netted a hat-trick, Kaiden Powell scored two goals and Batok Ring, Lloyd Howard and Kurt Stephens also shared the spoils.