ON THE BALL: Eamon Banks (pictured left) will play a key role for Alstonville against Lismore Thistles in the Football Far North Coast clash tonight.
ON THE BALL: Eamon Banks (pictured left) will play a key role for Alstonville against Lismore Thistles in the Football Far North Coast clash tonight.

Thistles’ title in the balance

LISMORE Thistles' defence of their minor premiership title hangs by a thread, going into their home clash with danger side Alstonville in FFNC's premier league tonight.

With the Blues trailing league leader Byron Bay by six points, anything less than a win could spell the end of their hopes for consecutive titles.

After winning their first seven games, Thistles have crashed to defeats in their last two starts and still have injury concerns over several key players, including inspirational leader Darren Beardow.

"We still haven't been able to run on the same lineup for two games in a row, and that doesn't help our cohesion," said Blues coach Rod Lees.

In contrast, Villa has won their last two games without conceding a goal and will field an unchanged lineup for the third week in a row.

The speed and first touch passing of their attacking trio Liam Giles, Phil Francis and Zac Illife have been dismantling opposing defences and will stretch the Blues backline to the limit.

In defence, Eamon Banks and Joel Perkins have been rock solid, leaving coach Mark Ambler optimistic they can reverse their 6-1 loss to Thistles in the opening round of the year.

"We're a much more balanced side now. We've settled into our best lineup and if we play to our potential we can win it," Ambler said.

Villa will grab a share of third place if they do win, as they pursue their holy grail of a first semi final appearance.

Kick off is 8pm.



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