Last Saturday the Seahorses hosted competition leaders, (and coastal rivals), Byron Bay. The Ballina boys lost 5- 1, with the score reflecting Byron’s focus across the whole 90 minutes.
Byron definitely started the stronger; in fact they scored their first goal within twenty seconds. The referee had only just finished blowing the kick off whistle when Byron scored a deft header from a well-placed cross. The goal stung the Seahorses into action and they decided to make Byron fight. The next twenty minutes was a real arm wrestle as Ballina successfully smothered Byron’s attempts to move the ball. Their failure to ram home the advantage was clearly frustrating the Byron outfit. To their credit the Seahorses mounted several counter attacks which resulted in a blistering goal to Ballina ‘live-wire’ striker Matt Jeffery who advanced on a well weighted through ball from Doug Bocking to drive a hard shot past a hapless Chris Jones, ( the Byron ‘keeper).
The balance of the first half was a continuing see-saw and at the half time break the game looked evenly poised with the Seahorses fancying their chances. However the second half was a completely different affair. The Byron players began to control possession and they took their time before despatching accurate switches of play to attacking flankers who unleashed a barrage of crosses into the box. This resulted in another three goals from the head with another chipped over the keeper and almost cleared from the goal mouth – but deemed to have crossed the line.
The bittersweet nature of the result was the fact that ex- Seahorses player James Tomlinson scored a second half hat trick. Thommo scored with such ease that he managed to pull out his mobile and take a ‘selfie’ while scoring his third goal. No doubt the photo has gone viral. If Thommo had been wearing a Ballina jersey it may have been a 4-2 win for the Seahorses, but this is fanciful and the loss has finished any finals aspirations for the Seahorses. To their credit the Seahorses never stopped trying. Jeremy Mitchell and Josh Jackson had strong games for Ballina and on the good news front the Ballina reserves eked out a well-deserved nil all draw with Duncan Hope, Gerard Weldon and Jackson Meehan all having exceptional games.
Next Sunday Ballina travel to play an in form Thistles team. Who knows what might happen – the Seahorses will want to trample the Thistles – but they will need to lift and tighten their marking and stop conceding goals.