Rams on a roll in derby with dogs
THE Byron versus Bangalow derby delivered its usual fiercely contested and highly entertaining 90 minutes of football on Saturday in Bangalow.
The Byron Services Club Premier Reserves got the ball rolling with a convincing 3-0 victory over their hinterland counterparts keeps them at second spot on the competition ladder.
In the Premier Division match up, both sides took to the park with much more than bragging rights at stake.
The 'Dogs Premier Division squad have enjoyed considerable success in the opening rounds of the season and were keen to retain their dominance.
The Rams, on a roll with six straight wins behind them, were equally determined to continue their resurgence after a slow start to the campaign.
The opening session provided plenty of entertainment, with a hard fought, end-to-end battle for the upper hand.
Byron had a slight edge over the Bluedogs, with a strong midfield driving strikers Diego Vasquez and Lisandro Luaces on frequent forays into the Bangalow defensive zone.
Thirty six minutes in and a free kick to Byron just outside the Bangalow box saw Vasquez curve a superb strike around the Bluedogs wall and into the top corner to give the Rams a 1-0 lead.
A Bangalow equaliser fired up both sides and the battle for the points raged.
With 15 minutes on the clock, a controversial hand-ball inside the box gave Byron an opportunity to break the deadlock. A penalty spot divot caused striker Luaces some grief when his protests earned him a yellow card and then impeded his strike. His shot was deflected by the keeper only to be pounced on and belted home by young midfielder Rick Muir.
In a stunning turnaround, Byron has defeated all of the competition leaders in recent weeks and now enjoys top-of-the table status.
The Rams have completed more rounds than any of the other contenders, however, so the next few rounds will reveal the Rams true position.
This Saturday has Byron back home at the Rec Grounds, hosting the Goonellabah Hornets at
1pm and 3pm.
Byron took the points from the Hornets in both grades in their last encounter and will be keen to build on their recent form.