Thistles and Byron Bay kick clear in title race
LISMORE Thistles and Byron Bay have kicked clear of the pack in FNC men's premier division soccer.
The high-flying pair had big wins in catch-up games on Tuesday night.
A 4-1 home win over Lennox Head keeps Thistles on top of the ladder, two points clear of Byron.
The Rams had a 6-2 away win over Goonellabah.
Matt Armstrong starred for the Blues with another hat-trick in their win over the Sharks, with defender Max Toovey joining him on the scorecard with his first goal of the season.
Brad Robertson had another strong game in goals for Thistles, along with wide backs Jeremy Sullivan and Zac Wilson.
Coach Paul Parmenter was content with the win but not entirely satisfied.
"While the result is what we wanted, we lost our shape in patches and didn't always stick to the game plan," he said.
"There's room for improvement."
The Sharks' goal came from Lachlan Copeland, with Paul Kirkland and Jonathan Green their best players.
They remain without a league win in 2013, though, and are in danger of being sucked into a relegation battle.
Meanwhile, Byron Bay coach Damon Bell believes he may have settled on his best line-up after the Rams outclassed Goonellabah.
Bell's son Sebastian led the way with a hat-trick, making him the league's top scorer with 11 goals from eight games.
Veteran striker Bruce Morhaus showed glimpses of his best and scored his first goal of the season, with Mauro Michi and Lachlan Dewar also finding the net.
"We used a new formation with a bit more maturity with Bruce as lone striker and the Packham brothers in defence," Bell said.
"It worked well."
Both the Hornets' goals came from Lloyd Howard, but the team remains a work in progress.
One more catch-up game will be played tonight, with Bangalow taking on Alstonville.
The match was abandoned at half-time last Sunday due to a sodden pitch.
Alstonville had home advantage for that game, but it has been switched to Bangalow (7pm kick-off).