Plains Rangers AFC

April 26th 2003 v Rotorua Suburbs

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There was plenty at stake for Plains Rangers in their home clash with top of the table
Rotorua Suburbs in BOP div two on Saturday. Rangers needed an improved showing
from their loss to Whakatane in the previous round, and Suburbs came with an
unbeaten record to preserve.
Both teams put in plenty of effort from the start. The first half was noted for some
solid challenges from both teams and an even share of possession. There were
however few scoring chances as both defences were well organised. At the break
there was no score.
Shortly after half time Rangers lost influential midfielder Bas Overdevest to injury,
and also lost some of their cohesion. Suburbs robbed the ball from the home team’s
defence, and an accurate cross was well headed into the goal. The pressure then went
on across the park, and while the standard of play dropped off as the teams tired, the
chances increased. Sanjay Murti was unlucky for Suburbs, smacking a powerful drive
onto the Rangers’ crossbar. Brendan Cusack hit an sweet left footed shot that
rebounded from a Suburbs post. He followed that up with an excellent header from a
corner that was blocked on the line by a defender. The Suburbs keeper played his part
too, doing well to block a one-on-one with Ashley Hawkes, and being named player
of the day for his team. With five minutes to go, excellent work from Hori Elliot
caused panic in the Suburbs defence. Simon Ruiter blocked the attempted clearance
and then calmly slotted the ball through the defence into the goal. The final score
remained Plains Rangers 1, Rotorua Suburbs 1.
The result was a fair one, for two committed teams. Referee Brett McDonald must be
commended for his handling of a fairly physical game. For Rangers, Brendan Cusack
was named player of the day.
Next Saturday Rangers travel to play Taupo. A number of regular players could be
missing, so the remainder will have to step up to the mark.