Gary Fowell Builders Plains Rangers
October 17 v Whakatane Town
A warm sunny day set the scene for the much anticipated
finale of the soccer season for the Whakatane and Plains Rangers clubs.
Whakatane hosted the sponsors' challenge match, which primarily acknowledged
the support of the teams' sponsors over the season. The game was also
a chance for the players to give each other one last test for the season.
The home team launched itself at the visitors with a will in the opening
stanza, and Plains Rangers took a while to adjust to the speed of the
game, given that their last fixture was four weeks ago.
Whakatane opened the scoring and Rangers had the misfortune to lose defender
Jono Whitaker to injury soon after. The home team capitalised, scoring
with a lob. The warm conditions saw both teams working hard, playing some
good football and not giving the other any charity. Rangers adjusted to
the game and put pressure on of their own, forcing several corners and
having James Krause almost score in a one-on-one.
At half time the score was 2 - 0.
After the break, both teams constructed a number of chances. Christian
Wetting and James Krause both drew fine saves from the Whakatane keeper.
Rangers' keeper Chris Johnston got off his line well to thwart a number
of Whakatane through balls, but the home team got lucky when a striker
collided with Johnston after a save and forced the ball home. In the end
Pullar Builders Whakatane were deserving winners 3 - 0, but they were
made to work hard by the Gary Fowell Builders Plains Rangers side.
The game was played in good spirit by both teams and enjoyed by the spectators.
Referees Giovani Armenti, John Pitchers and Bob Fraser did a good job
too, and everyone enjoyed the gathering afterwards.