Plains Rangers AFC

27 & 28 August 2016
Plains Rangers men 3, Ngongotaha 4
Kawerau Sports , Plains Rangers women

Fine weather and good pitch conditions at Awakeri set the scene for a pulsating game of football on Saturday. SLH Contracting Plains Rangers were at home to Ngongotaha in BOP division two.
Rangers had plenty of good early pressure and in the 17th minute they opened the scoring. A well weighted free kick from Hamish Wilde was collected inside the Ngongotaha penalty area by striker Sione Lotu and he bundled it past the keeper. One minute later Rangers came close to doubling the lead when Peter Gray's shot was well saved. Ngongotaha stayed in the game with good football of their own. On the half hour, they won the ball with Rangers sitting deep and scored a good goal to even things up. Five minutes later Rangers right back Jamaal James made a great burst through onto a pass from Wilde. He appeared to be pushed over by a defender but no penalty was forthcoming. At half time the score was 1 – 1.
Rangers came out after the break with renewed energy. Hamish Wilde had a header saved. Petir Gray had a header saved. Ngongotaha replied, scoring from a quick break to retake the lead. Midway through the half Petir Gray drew a defender and slipped the ball to Wilde who beat his man and scored with his left foot. Ten minutes later the home team took the lead. A header from veteran defender found Gray in the midfield. Gray was again was the provider, drawing his man then releasing the ball to Sione Lotu who slammed it home. The visitors never gave up and came back with a goal. A hand ball on the edge of the Rangers penalty area gave Ngongotaha a late chance to grab the win. The well hit shot took a deflection and flew into the net. In the final moment Rangers won a corner. Keeper Christian Wetting raced up to join the attack. He got his head to the ball but it went agonisingly just over the bar. The final score was Plains Rangers 3, Ngongotaha 4.
Hamish Wilde was named player of the day for Rangers. Petir Gray was another in top form. This Saturday Rangers men have their final game, which should be a classic encounter - a local derby away at Kawerau.