Hornets a-buzz about title defence
The Hornets sent Ballina into anaphylactic shock on Sunday with a stinging 5-2 victory to force their way into Football FNCs Tursa pre-season Anzac Cup semi-finals.
Goonellabah striker Peter ONeil scored a hat trick which allowed the Hornets to sneak into the finals on goal difference where they join Byron Bay, Italo Stars and Maclean.
Work-a-holic front man Ben Andrews also nailed a stunning strike and Brenton Perrin scored on debut as the yellow-men kept their title defence alive.
Ballinas goals came from Cerys Hawkins and Jarrod Smeal.
Goonellabah will now play Italo Stars who earned their stripes with a big 4-2 win over Burringbar.
Newly promoted Burringbar are still to post a win.
Stars scored three times before half time to break the Bandits hearts. Matt Weir, Brenton Mumford and Wayne Mortimer all scored in the first session and Mark Maslen finished off the one-sided encounter with a penalty in the second term.
Meanwhile, the Byron Bay Rams and the Maclean Bobcats shored up their semi final spots with narrow wins over Bangalow and Lennox Head B respectively.
The Rams struggled to subdue the belligerent Blue Dogs with a gripping 1-nil win, while the Bobcats were forced to claw their way back twice to seal a 3-2 win over Lennox B.
The Rams only goal was a fortunate and unexpected one, as Todd Knaus curled a corner into the back of the net early in the second half.
Meanwhile The Bobcats found it hard to break down a well-organised Lennox B. Lennox opened the scoring through Justin Stockham but Grant Nielsen was quick to equalise for Maclean. The Sharks were undaunted and struck again before the break when Chris Atkinson nailed a goal in the shadow of half time.
The Bobcats came out growling after oranges with Travis Armstrong and Jeremy Walters both scoring to seal the semi-final spot. They play Byron this Sunday.
Despite a 3-nil win over Byron Bay B, Richmond Rovers didnt make the semi final cut. In a blistering second half, Rovers midfielder Ian McGregor scored twice and young striker Carl Robinson slotted another but all to no avail.
Lennox Head and Workers Club also failed to make the grade in their match which the Sharks won 2-1. Towering striker Paul Kirkland set up one and scored the other and looks like he could mean trouble for teams across the district this year. Workers dug out a single goal when John Wraight headed in, but he then missed a late one-on-one chance against Sharks goalkeeper Tye McDonald and the match was over for the Redmen.
Meanwhile, in the womens Tursa Callan McMillan Shield competition Lennox Head thrashed Thistles into a bloody heap 16-nil and will now take on Byron Bay in the final on Anzac Day.