Rams make most of wind
BYRON Bay's SAE-Qantm Summer Youth League squad faced another wind-affected challenge against ninth-placed Alstonville on Friday night at the Ewingsdale grounds.
Alstonville's winless status is not for want of trying, and the Villa boys fought a dogged but fruitless battle to get points on the board.
The young Rams were far more disciplined this week and handled Alstonville's push for an early goal with confidence and assurance.
Villa did its utmost to take advantage of its first-half tail-wind but its attacks broke down against the rock-solid Byron backline.
Young Byron keeper Griffin Bambach, backed by the formidable combination of Alex Kempnich, Zeb Branton, Harper Hain and mentor Ben Ahern, kept the wind and the Villa boys at bay.
The Rams' attack battled to overcome a strong headwind and a determined Alstonville defence, but couldn't find the net and the first half closed with a 0-0 deadlock.
The second half saw the Rams use the wind advantage and the Alstonville boys began to struggle.
A penalty to Villa raised early hopes but the Rams' second-half keeper, veteran Lachie Baynes, read the striker's approach perfectly and kept the Byron sheet clean.
The wind finally blowing their way, the Rams went on the offensive, with midfielder and defenders joining the attack. Defender Harper Hain broke the ice with a cracking strike and was soon joined on the scorecard by an equally impressive goal from fellow defender Zeb Branton.
The win takes the Rams to equal second on the table with Thistles, as Lennox continues its charmed run at the top.
The final three rounds see Byron facing quality opposition from Workers (in Lismore this Friday) and then at home against Thistles and Rovers. All three matches kick off at 7pm.