Plains Rangers AFC

July 5th 2003 v Tauranga City United Two

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Plains Rangers were back in action on Saturday after a three week lay-off. Rangers were at home to Tauranga City United Two in the first match of the new BOP Division Two. The visitors had won the Western section of the qualifying round, and posed a big challenge for Rangers.
The game was all on from their first whistle. The visitors had a golden chance to open the scoring in the early moments when keeper Matt Aberhart, making a welcome return from injury, had little option but to catch a close range back pass. The resulting indirect free kick was 10 m out, right in front of goal. Aberhart made a brilliant save to block the well struck shot, and it was cleared to safety. Tauranga had another lucky break a couple of minutes later, when David Manville scored from a misplaced cross which flew into the top corner of the Rangers goal. To compound the home team’s
woes, another Tauranga attack was well finished from close range. Rangers gradually came into the game and it was a fiercely fought battle. Good pressure from player of the day Aaron Muggeridge put the visitors defence into a panic and Bas Overdevest seized on the opportunity to sidefoot the ball into goal. The half time score was 2 - 1 to Tauranga City.
Soon after the interval, a mistimed tackle in the Rangers penalty area gave the visitors a penalty and it was comfortably converted. Both teams were playing some good passing football and possession was evenly shared for the second half. A hard low cross from Jason Shaw caught out the Tauranga defence. Rangers’ striker Brendan Cusack was denied a goal from it as a defender struck it into his own goal. The introduction of Ashley Hawkes gave Rangers further forward impetus. However the
last goal was scored by the visitors after a sweeping counter attack. Referee Mark Varvazovski, who had an excellent game in the middle, sent a Tauranga player from the field for unsporting conduct, but Rangers didn’t have enough time left to capitalise on their superior numbers. The final score Plains Rangers 2, Tauranga City United 4.
Rangers performed well, considering their break from competitive play. After the initial wobbles, the defence combined well as a unit, Steve Vierboom standing out with some solid tackles. The centre midfield pairings of Overdevest and Jason Pullar and, later Overdevest and Daniel Logan put together some excellent passing moves too.
This Saturday, the leagues take a break and the knock-out Tasman Cup has its first round. Rangers will meet first division Kawerau at Stoneham Park.