Plains Rangers AFC

April 5th 2003 v Opotiki

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Plains Rangers opened their campaign in soccer’s BOP Div Two with a hard fought
battle at home to newcomers Opotiki on Saturday.
The initial 15 minutes saw both sides testing each other out with some stern
challenges, and referee Norm Howe used all his experience and diplomacy to keep
things under control. Gradually, Rangers better teamwork and passing gave them the
greater share of territory. However, the Opotiki defence was tenacious and
committed, and Rangers had difficulty getting through into the penalty area. After
thirty minutes, Rangers were awarded a free kick about 30 metres from goal. Captain
Sjoerd Overdevest let fly with a strike that bent away viciously from the Opotiki
keeper and into the top left corner of the goal. For much of the rest of the half, the
home team camped in the visitors’ half, but there was no further score.
Throughout the second half Plains Rangers enjoyed the greater share of possession,
but were thwarted by dogged defence, offside calls and some very good goal keeping.
Brendan Cusack smacked a good shot from in front, only for the keeper to make an
excellent reflex save. The game ended at Plains Rangers 1, Opotiki 0.
Rangers would be well pleased with the win, and the periods of good teamwork.
Good progress was made down the flanks, with Hori Elliot and Mark Thompson using
their space well to link with the front runners. Striker Daniel Logan impressed with
his ability to work his way through the heavy traffic in the Opotiki defence. Opotiki
should also be pleased with their first up efforts. Their never-say-die attitude will
serve them well throughout the season.
Next Saturday Rangers are away to Whakatane One.