Gary Fowell Builders Plains Rangers

August 12th 2006 v Te Puke
Tasman Bowl semifinal

The Tasman Bowl semifinal between Te Puke and Gary Fowell Builders Plains Rangers was a hard fought affair, that went all the way to a penalty shoot out.
Te Puke's home fans set up a great atmosphere for the game, with red and white streamers flowing from the clubrooms and a noisy crowd in the grandstand. Rangers brought some momentary silence however when they scored from their first attack. A Jeremy Hawkes corner was headed powerfully into the goal by Bas Overdevest before the first minute was up. Rangers used the tail wind to have the better of the first half, although both teams struggled to play a passing game in the conditions. Aaron Muggeridge had a goal ruled out through offside and Rangers had a 1 - 0 lead at half time.
The wind strengthened and the home team used it well in the second half to pin Rangers back in their own territory for good spells. Midway through the spell a Te Puke corner was headed back across goal by dangerman Lee Hillier and a team mate climbed over the Rangers defence to even the scores. Both teams worked hard, in an increasingly physical encounter to score the winner before the dreaded extra time. However, the 90 minutes arrived with the scores locked at 1 - 1.
Rangers started the first half of extra time into the wind and bright sun and were in early trouble. A Hillier run across the box drew two tacklers and a penalty call from referee Colin Harrison which delighted the home fans. The penalty was well converted and it looked like a home win was on the cards.
Amidst cramping bodies on both sides, in the second period, Rangers pushed in hope for an equaliser. They played patient football and a long pass found captain Richie Nillesen well forward. He pushed the ball across for Harley de Lacy who beat the keeper to it and then turned back across the box and was brought down by two defenders. Rangers sweeper Jason Pullar stepped up to coolly convert the late penalty. At the end of extra time the semifinal was tied up 2 - 2.
A penalty shootout out drew the crowd down to the goal to witness the drama. Rangers did well to score their first four attempts, via player of the day Nillesen, Pullar, Dean Butterworth and Barrie Hawkes. Rangers keeper Jono Whitaker saved Te Puke's first penalty and they wilted under the challenge, with Rangers finally winning the shootout 4 - 1.
The spectators from both sides had certainly had their money's worth, and Rangers will look forward to the clash with neighbours Kawerau in the final on September 2nd. This Saturday however, league action returns, with a home game against Taupo One. Rangers will want to reverse the loss they suffered in the away fixture. Kickoff at the Edgecumbe Domain is likely to be at 2 pm.