RAMS CLINCH CUP

Byron Bay over­comes Oakes Oval hoodoo to get past Rovers

The Northern Star - - SPORT - Thibault Berthier Soc­cer cor­re­spon­dent

BYRON BAY broke its Oakes Oval hoodoo with a 2-1 win over Rich­mond Rovers in the An­zac Cup soc­cer fi­nal in Lis­more on Satur­day.

An Aaron Walker dou­ble sealed the re­sult for the Rams, while Kurt Walker scored Rovers’ soli­tary goal.

Aaron Walker opened the scor­ing for Byron in the 35th minute when he stole the ball from the Rovers defence.

He streaked away and drove home a pow­er­ful shot from in­side the box.

Walker dou­bled the Rams’ lead in the 65th minute when he found him­self on the end of a long ball be­fore deftly chip­ping Rovers goal­keeper Chris Jones.

Rovers pulled one back five min­utes later when Kurt Walker bun­dled home an ef­fort at the back post.

Aaron Walker was sent off in the 89th minute when he re­ceived a sec­ond yel­low card fol­low­ing a col­li­sion with Jones.

But Byron Bay held on to se­cure just their sec­ond win from their past six fi­nals ap­pear­ances at Oakes Oval.

Striker Joel Wood was named player of the match.

Coach Da­mon Bell was de­lighted his side had man­aged to break through at Oakes Oval and said his team’s abil­ity to cre­ate more chances than the op­po­si­tion made the dif­fer­ence.

“We’d won one out of five here, now it’s two out of six, our odds just went up a bit,” he said.

“Do we have a hoodoo here? Maybe, but hope­fully it’s bro­ken now.

“It wasn’t the pret­ti­est game. I didn’t think we played that well. We just didn’t keep pos­ses­sion well and our pass­ing was off.

“We cre­ated more chances than they did; we took two out of the six or seven we had.”

Rovers coach Todd Jones was disappointed with his side’s slow start.

“We got out­played es­pe­cially in the first half; any­thing that could go wrong did go wrong in the first half, we just started too slowly,” he said.

Jones is con­fi­dent Rovers will bounce back and ben­e­fit from con­sis­tent train­ing fol­low­ing an in­ter­rupted start to the sea­son.

“We’ll re­build, we can con­sis­tently get to train­ing now, which will be a good thing,” he said.

“We have to play smart foot­ball and be more calm and com­posed when we have the ball.”

In FNC premier league ac­tion, a Jervis Fo­ley dou­ble led Len­nox Head to a 4-1 home win over Italo Stars and Goonellabah de­feated Casino 5-0 at We­ston Park.

It wasn’t the pret­ti­est game. I didn’t think we played that well (but) we cre­ated more chances than they did; we took two out of the six or seven we had.

— BYRON BAY COACH DA­MON BELL

ON THE BALL: The player of the An­zac Cup soc­cer fi­nal, Byron Bay striker Joel Wood, shows his class against Rich­mond Rovers de­fender Dan Flynn dur­ing the Rams’ 2-1 vic­tory at Oakes Oval, Lis­more, on Satur­day.

PHOTOS: STEVE MACK­NEY

MEM­O­RABLE WIN: Byron Bay cap­tain Ben Ahearn ac­cepts the An­zac Cup shield from Greg McMa­hon of spon­sor Tursa.

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