Soccer: Sharks blow their top-three chance
THE race for semi-final positions in Far North Coast premier league soccer has been resolved following the final round at the weekend.
Byron Bay had already wrapped up the minor premiership and rested five regulars in their 1-0 away win over Alstonville, which allowed the Rams to finish seven points clear on top of the ladder.
Tyson Kaye netted the only goal of the game, using his pace to break away from the Villa defence midway through the second half.
Villa had the chance to snatch a draw with a last-minute penalty but Rams goalkeeper Chris Jones pulled off a spectacular save.
The Rams will now have next weekend off before their first chance of progressing to the grand final in the major semi, where they will meet either Richmond Rovers or Lismore Workers.
Rovers earned the home advantage for their major preliminary semi clash with the Redmen after finishing second with a 2-all away draw with Lismore Thistles.
Rovers led 2-0 at the break after goals from Dan Flynn and 15-year-old Bodhi Estreich on debut before resting several players.
While Thistles were out of finals contention, they showed plenty of pride to fight their way back in the second half with goals from Darren Beardow and young prospect Cody McKinnon.
Workers scraped into third place on goal difference over Lennox Head after their 2-all away draw against fifth-placed Goonellabah.
The Redmen had to come from behind twice, with two goals from young striker Matt Keevers.
Batok Ring and Jack Lyons scored for the Hornets.
Goonellabah will take on Lennox Head on the Sharks' home soil in the elimination semi-final.
Lennox will be making their first appearance in the semis since 2008, but their surprise 3-1 home loss to Casino will have dented their confidence.
A hat-trick from striker Zac Innes was the highlight of a spirited performance from the Cobras, while Byron Milne scored for the Sharks to wrap up the Golden Boot.
Relegation-bound Ballina finished the season as the only side without a win after a 3-all home draw against Bangalow.
A late goal from David Bowder allowed the Seahorses to snatch the draw, after Zeb Tolson and Dave Betterridge had scored for the Seahorses.
The Bluedogs' goals came from Noah Stokes, Scott Fuller and Taha Belaazziz.
In premier reserve division, the minor premiership had been a three-way race between Richmond Rovers, Byron Bay and Thistles until Rovers' 4-2 away win over Thistles wrapped up consecutive titles.