Plains Rangers AFC

3 September 2016
Kawerau Sports 2, Plains Rangers men 1

It was an action –packed encounter when SLH Contracting Plains Rangers travelled the short distance to play Kawerau Sports in BOP division two on Saturday. The second placed hosts and their fourth placed visitors were well matched from the outset, with a good battle for superiority in the midfield. After fifteen minutes Rangers launched a promising attack. Left half Jordan Ogilvy put the ball through for striker Sione Lotu. His first time shot drew a great save from the Kawerau keeper. Five minutes later a Kawerau attack down the right led to a deflected cross wrong footing the Rangers defence and the home team opened the scoring with a tap in. On the half hour Rangers keeper Christian Wetting pulled off a brilliant save to keep out a long range strike. Two minutes later Ogilvy hooked a shot over his head and the Kawerau keeper just managed to push the bounce over the bar. The game changed a few minutes later when a player from each team was sent off after an altercation. This meant some big gaps for both teams to exploit. At half time Kawerau held the lead 1 – 0.
Rangers adjusted their line-up and came out playing some flowing football at the start of the second half. Sione Lotu had the ball in the back of the net after another good shot, but the offside flag had been raised. Kawerau continued their good work and Wetting had to make another excellent save to a one-on-one break. Substitute Levi Riri went on a strong run down the right for Rangers and his final pass was only just cut out before it reached Lotu in front of goal. A minute later excellent combinations between Rangers' young Edgecumbe College players led to right back Jamaal James bursting into the Kawerau area and scoring, to even up the game.
Kawerau threw the large talented frame of Hamiora Awhimate up front to try and regain their lead. Midway through the half he was fouled on a run forward and continued on to score but the referee had blown his whistle for the foul and the goal was disallowed. Late in the game another foul on the same player, just outside the penalty area brought a free kick. It was well taken, curving over the Rangers wall, and Kawerau had the winner. The final score was Kawerau Sports 2, Plains Rangers 1.
It had been a hard fought, evenly balanced game and great entertainment value for the spectators. Rangers would have been disappointed not to have secured a draw. Keeper Christian Wetting was Rangers' player of the day, with his Kawerau counterpart in equally good form. The game brought the end of season for both teams. Rangers' women still have the Pullar Cup this Sunday and a catch up game left to play.