Gary Fowell Builders Plains Rangers

October 16th v Whkatane Town 1sts
Sponsors Challenge

A good sized crowd enjoyed a thoroughly entertaining final game of football on Saturday. Pullar Builders Whakatane Town hosted Gary Fowell Builders Plains Rangers in the annual sponsors challenge.
The youthful Rangers side settled into their attacking work quickly with the movement of their front runners causing the Federation League home team's defence problems. After ten minutes Rangers were in front. Ben McPherson whipped in a corner and it sailed untouched into the Whakatane goal. Game on! Whakatane got their play flowing better and, despite appeals for off side, scored when a cross was bundled in at the far post. Both teams attacked with a will, with some Whakatane players resorting to some dodgy tackles to slow the game down. A flying Adam Barkla volley had the Rangers supporters almost celebrating, but it grazed the top of the goal and stayed out. A Whakatane raid down the right wing ended with a hard hit low cross which the Rangers keeper couldn't hold and it was rammed home. Rangers captain Christian Wetting left a trail of defenders in his wake as he juggled the ball into the Whakatane penalty area and sent a volley narrowly wide, with winger Cameron Wills almost managing to steer it into the goal at the far post. At half time the score was Whakatane 2, Rangers 1.
The warm conditions saw the game become more stretched in the second half, with the chances continuing to be created. A switch of play by defender Barrie Hawkes found Cameron Wills running into the Whakatane penalty area and the lively winger was dragged down by his wrongsided defender. Wills stepped up to convert the penalty and even up the scores. However the home team got ahead again after player-coach Werner Rechsteiner was judged to have been fouled by Rangers young centre midfielder Ben Fretwell. Rechsteiner curled the free kick into the top corner of the goal. By this time a number of players were cramping up due to the fast moving game and the warm conditions. A through ball had Rangers stand in keeper Jono Whitaker racing out of his area only to bring down the attacker and earn a red card. Having to play the last fifteen minutes with ten men put paid to the Rangers chances, but it always remained tight and the game ended Whakatane 3 Rangers 2.
Both teams would have been satisfied with the football they turned on to thank their sponsors and supporters. Rangers' player of the day was its inspirational leader Christian Wetting, with defender Jeremy Hawkes also high in the performance stakes. Whakatane's player of the day was Terry Stilgo.
Rangers prize giving and break up night is Saturday 30th October at the Awakeri Events Centre, from 5.30pm onwards.