Rams aim for third straight title
A GOAL in extra-time to striker Jonathan Pierce booked Byron Bay a grand final spot against South Lismore in Far North Coast men's premier division soccer.
The Rams prevailed 2-1 in the preliminary final against Lismore Thistles at the Byron Recreation Ground and are one win away from three straight premierships.
It will be the final game in charge for Byron Bay coach Damon Bell and a chance for him to finish with a fourth premiership since 2013 at Crozier Field, Lismore, on Saturday.
"This is my last game and one that I'm really looking forward to,” Bell said.
"We have five in our starting side who are 18 years or younger mixed in with a few older guys.
"It's been a great run over the last few years and the boys have had another good season.”
The Rams were minor premiers but had to get there the hard way after a loss in a penalty shoot-out against South Lismore in the major semi-final.
Experience helped get them home against Thistles and they will come up against a Celtics side looking to break a 26-year premiership drought.
"I didn't mind it, we probably needed an extra run,” Bell said.
"Thistles did a really good job from fifth and I think we had a lot more chances (in the preliminary final).
"We probably should have put it to bed earlier but we got there in the end.”
Bell said golden boot winner Lisandro Luaces is under an injury cloud after some heavy shots at the weekend.
The star striker still managed to get on the score sheet just before the break while Thistles netted a goal early in the second half.
Teenager Zac Miletic sliced through with a ball on to Rick Muir, before Pierce scored the match-winner.
"I was tempted to make a few changes (during the game) but we kept everyone out there,” Bell said.
"Zac was able to slice a ball through to set up the win which was pleasing to watch.
"We'll focus on our game plan for the grand final. We're 2-all at the moment and there hasn't been much between us since they beat us 4-2 in the first round.”
Kick-off is 5.30pm.