Four players on debut helped Gary Fowell Builders Plains
Rangers to a comfortable win away to Opotiki in soccer's BOP division
three on Saturday. With a number of players unavailable, Rangers welcomed
back George Elliot for his first game in two years, Steve Vierboom, back
from injury, Jason Pullar, transferred from Whakatane midweek and newcomer
Jonathon Whitaker. Rangers took a little while to adjust to the very soft
conditions at Opotiki, which, coupled with the long grass, made firm touches
on the ball essential.
Rangers pressed forward from the start and opened the scoring after ten
minutes, Aaron Muggeridge dummying one way then beating the keeper at
his near post. Opotiki held out till midway through the half before Muggeridge
was fouled in the penalty area. He got up to put away the resulting spot
kick well. Rangers, with no subs and a number of players carrying injuries,
held their shape well to have the half time lead 2 - 0.
After the interval, Opotiki came back into the game, determined to score.
However, Rangers weathered the storm and then a well judged shot from
Simon Gowing extended the lead. Later, a lay-off from Muggeridge primed
Richie Nillesen for a well struck goal and Nillesen completed the scoring
with a good solo effort. The final score Opotiki 0, Plains Rangers 5 was
not a reflection of the effort the home team had put into the game, which
was played in good spirit and was well controlled by referee Norm Howe.
George Elliot was deservedly named player of the day from some skilful
work up the left. Pullar marshaled the defence well and Steve Vierboom
showed no effects from an injury in a pre-season game. Up front young
Whitaker ran hard and was within a whisker of scoring twice.
This Saturday Rangers have no game, but they will look forward to a home
game against Kawerau on the 27th.