Plains Rangers AFC

May 31st 2003 v Ngongotaha

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Plains Rangers were involved in a battle of attrition with hosts Ngongotaha on
Saturday. With both teams equal on points and the end of the round looming up, this
was an important fixture.
Ngongotaha won the toss and got the strong wind at their backs for the first half. They
used this advantage well and kept Rangers pinned in their own half for long periods.
However the Rangers defence, well led by David Dennis, kept their shooting efforts
to long range for the most part. Rangers keeper Matt Aberhart was also in top form
and kept his team in the game a number of times. He made one outstanding save from
a free kick, just as impressive was another effort when he tipped a strong shot onto
the bar, then leapt up twice more to repeat the effort as the wind kept blowing the ball
back towards the goal! Rangers could have been excused for thinking they had done
the hard work when they got safely to half time with the score 0 - 0.
However, during the interval, the wind died away and both teams were able to launch
attacks at each other. Every ball was contested fully and the injury toll began to
mount as the half wore on. Rangers gradually got the upper hand and looked more
likely with some patient passing football, however the home team’s strikers were
always dangerous and created some good chances. Rangers looked to have grabbed a
goal when Dan Logan burst through from the midfield and shot powerfully, but
Ngongotaha’s keeper pulled off a brilliant save to keep his goal intact. Finally the
deadlock was broken. With twenty minutes to play, Sjoerd Overdevest ran the ball at
the defence. He picked his moment to slip it to Bas Overdevest who calmly slotted it
past the advancing keeper.
The drama was not yet ended however. In a Ngongotaha raid shortly after, keeper
Aberhart came well off his line to strongly block an attacker. In the resulting
collision, both players were injured. The Ngongotaha player was stretchered off, and
though Aberhart played on for ten minutes, he ended up joining his opponent in the
ambulance to Rotorua Hospital. Player coach Dennis dropped back into goal and
made a couple of good stops as the home team searched for the equaliser. The game
finished with the score Ngongotaha 0, Plains Rangers 1.
Rangers were pleased with this result and the gutsy effort that was produced to
achieve it. They will also hope that player of the day Aberhart recovers quickly. The
game was played in good spirit, and was very well refereed by a Ngongotaha club
This Saturday Rangers have their last game in this division, with the top half of the
league joining its WBOP counterparts in a new second division. They are at home to
Whakatane Reserves and will be looking to make amends for losing to the Whakatane
development team in an earlier round. Kick-off at the Edgecumbe Domain is at 2 pm.