Byron Bay and Richmond Rovers go head-to-head

TIT FOR TAT: Experienced Byron Bay midfielder Todd Knaus had a great duel with the Rovers midfield in the top-of-the-table clash at Nielson Park, East Lismore.
TIT FOR TAT: Experienced Byron Bay midfielder Todd Knaus had a great duel with the Rovers midfield in the top-of-the-table clash at Nielson Park, East Lismore. STEVE MACKNEY

THE race for premiership honours remains wide open after a pulsating 1-all draw in the top-of-the-table clash between 2014 grand finalists Byron Bay and Richmond Rovers in Far North Coast premier league soccer.

Rovers had the home advantage but it was the Rams who got away to the better start in one of the best games of the season.

Byron Bay controlled possession well and were rewarded after 17 minutes when striker James Tomlinson hit a shot on the turn from the edge of the box that gave Rovers goalkeeper Andrew Marshall no chance.

The goal stung Rovers into action and they hit a series of long-range shots that tested Rams 'keeper Chris Jones.

The pressure paid off not long before the break, when Rovers' top scorer Jake Heffernan capitalised on a ball by Reid Brewer-Charles to hit the equaliser.

Both sides threw everything into an enthralling second half played at a frantic pace, but each struggled to create clean chances against solid defence.

The result maintains Byron's record as the only undefeated team and leaves them still three points clear of second-placed Rovers.

Alstonville continued its good form, jumping up to third place with a 3-1 home win over Bangalow.

Goals from Phil Francis, Jake Arthur and Rick Hanna delivered a relativly comfortable win, with the only negative being a red card for Francis early in the second half, ruling him out of their clash with Lennox Head tomorrow night.

The Bluedogs' goal came from Nathan Bensley but they remain just a point off the bottom of the ladder.

Lennox Head kept its semi-final hopes alive with a hard-fought 3-2 home win over Lismore Workers.

Byron Milne became the league's top scorer with two goals, while Jervis Foley also found the back of the net for the Sharks.

Tom Fiedler and Jonty Miller scored for the Redmen.

Lismore Thistles remain fifth thanks to a torrid 2-1 away win over Goonellabah.

Goals from Matt Armstrong and Max Hospers gave the Blues the critical three points, with former Thistles player Matt Weir scoring for the Hornets.

Casino continued Ballina's miserable season with a 5-1 home win over the last-placed Seahorses.

The Cobras led 1-0 after a tight first half thanks to a goal from Ashton Johnson before running away with the game with further goals from Scott Creighton, Todd Kenny, Dean Casey and Josh Rankin.

The seasisers' solitary goal came from Matt Jeffery but their hopes of avoiding the cut could hinge on their next game against fellow relegation candidate Bangalow.



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