Plains Rangers AFC

25 August Plains Rangers men 3 Te Puke 2

The Awakeri Sportsfield was the scene for a humdinger of a battle in BOP division one on Saturday. Gary Fowell Builders Plains Rangers were at home to Te Puke, with third place in the league at stake. Rangers were one point ahead of their visitors going into the clash, but had lost 2 - 3 in the first meeting between them.
The Te Puke side had five Brazilians in their line up and they loved to attack at pace. However, Rangers have been in great form lately and they were not going to sit back either. This made for end-to-end entertainment for the spectators. After ten minutes the home team got in front. Ben Fretwell won the ball in defence and, coming forward, beat several players before putting in a perfect pass for in-form striker Jaiden Ibbetson. Ibbetson touched the ball around the Te Puke keeper before rolling it home. Ten minutes later it was all square. A Te Puke free kick was headed back across goal and a striker tapped it in. The game was evenly shared and hard fought throughout the half. Rangers' defender James Hart made a run forward, only to be fouled 35 metres from goal. From the resulting freekick, he hit a thunderbolt towards the visitors' goal. A defender's head got a nick on the ball as it sailed into the top corner of the goal. At half time Rangers were in front 2 - 1.
After the break, the Te Puke team poured on the pressure. Fifteen minutes in, they again leveled the scores. Their keeper launched a long clearance, the bounce took it through the home team defence and a Te Puke striker controlled the ball superbly and lobbed it into the Rangers' net. Te Puke worked hard to gain the victory, but Rangers responded with tenacious defence, led by the outstanding Fretwell. With two minutes to go, Rangers hard work paid off. Centre midfielder Andy Brabant secured the ball outside the crowded Te Puke penalty area and fired in a high shot, over the players and keeper to send the Rangers supporters into ecstacies on the sideline. The final score Plains Rangers 3, Te Puke 2.
Despite its competitiveness, the game was played in good spirit by both teams and was well refereed by Paul Shakes. Brabant was player of the day.
This Saturday Rangers are in the semi final of the Bay Sportsmed Bowl. They meet Old Blues at 12 noon at Mt Maunganui. Old Blues warmed up for the game with a crazy 10 - 0 away win at Taupo.