Plains Rangers women's football team kept up their impressive recent form with another good result this weekend. On Sunday Rangers were at home to Te Puke United, who had beaten Rangers heavily (10 – 2) in the first game of the season.
Rangers got off to a flying start, with left winger Khiali Ibbetson pressurizing the visitors' defence and scoring in the opening minutes. After fifteen minutes Rangers doubled their lead. A great ball from Sophie Estall in the Rangers midfield found Ibbetson who knocked it inside to Cassidy Spillman and she buried it in the net. Te Puke were not about to rollover though and they played some good football, but the Rangers defence was determined, exemplified by defender Caitlin Stuckey who blocked a goal-bound shot on the goal line. Five minutes before half time Te Puke finally converted one of the dangerous corners they had put over, with ex-Awakeri player Jamie Stanton heading the ball in. Just before half time Rangers were unlucky not to score, with a well hit shot from Estall bouncing off the post. At half time Rangers held their lead 2 – 1.
An early attack by the visitors, soon after half time, was finished off by one of their midfielders who went on a great solo run to even up the scores. Soon after, the rain started coming down, with heavy falls sending the spectators searching for cover. Rangers weathered the storm, both figuratively and literally, to keep their goal intact, securing a 2 – 2 draw.
This result shows the big improvement the Rangers team has made during this season. The team played good football throughout the game. Stand-in keeper Ranee Whiting was named player of the day, with Sophie Estall, Mikaela Mathis and Sarah Boyce also impressing. Next Sunday Rangers women travel to play unbeaten league leaders Taupo, who beat second placed Papamoa 6 – 1 on Sunday.
On Saturday SLH Contracting Plains Rangers men's game at Ngongotaha was postponed. This Saturday they host Kawerau Sports in a local derby. Kick off at Awakeri is at 2 pm.