Warm weather and a good home crowd welcomed Gary Fowell
Builders Plains Rangers for their first game at Awakeri this season. Rangers
hosted Otumoetai, a team they had lost both games to last season.
Rangers started the game strongly. An early foray from captain Ben McPherson
set up left winger Jaiden Ibbetson, but he blazed his shot over the bar.
The home team passed the ball around nicely, being patient in possession
and waiting for opportunities. The Otumoetai keeper had to make a couple
of good saves to keep the Rangers strikers out. Right winger Ben Howe
did some great work as the home team got closer and closer. John Stephen,
in his first game for Rangers, hit the crossbar with a header. McPherson
hit the post after a run through from the left. In the final minute of
the half however, Otumoetai almost sneaked the lead. They had the ball
in the Rangers net, only to be pulled back for the cross having crossed
over the goal line on its way into the box.
The talk at half time for Rangers was to continue being patient.
Soon after the break, it paid off. Good work from Andy Brabant in the
midfield sent McPherson through and he calmly slotted the goal home. However,
the visitors were not about to lie down. The battle was fairly even but
the home supporters got rather nervous in the final fifteen minutes as
Rangers tired in defence of their slender lead. Keeper Christian Wetting
was robbed of the ball, but recovered to pounce on the ball as the Otumoetai
striker was about to shoot. Wetting had to make another fine save late
in the game when a clearance rebounded from a stray foot and was heading
towards the Rangers goal. The final score was Gary Fowell Builders Plains
Rangers 1, Otumoetai 0.
The three points were well deserved by Rangers and the game was played
in good spirit, making it a pleasure for the spectators to watch. Chris
Johnston was named player of the day for his determined work in defence.
Jordan Ogilvy was another to impress in what was a good team display.
This Saturday Rangers are at home again, this time to Papamoa.
On Sunday Gary Fowell Builders Plains Rangers women's team travelled to
play a youthful Kawerau team. The home team had the better of the first
half, taking a comfortable lead, although Rangers striker Kate Simons
was very unlucky with a shot that hit the underside of the crossbar. In
the second half Simons couldn't be denied with a strong shot. Kawerau
replied with a goal before Simons swung over a corner that couldn't be
kept out. In the end the score was 10 - 2 to the home team. Rangers had
played some good football. Ann-Elise Reynolds showed out with good determination
and was named player of the day, while Julie Reihana and Kelly Wilson
also had strong games.
This Sunday, Rangers' women are at home to top of the table Old Blues.