Plains Rangers AFC

1 July 2017
Plains Rangers men 0, Kawerau 3

The visit of league leaders Kawerau Sports on Saturday was a big challenge for SLH Contracting Plains Rangers in BOP division one. Damp conditions made things interesting for both teams. The game started out very evenly poised, with plenty of good attacks and build up play despite the slippery pitch. Down the right, Rangers player of the day Carl Imlig linked up well with Samuel Christieson and Ben McPherson, who made a very welcome return to the team. Kawerau's strong work through the centre kept the Rangers defence on their toes and keeper Christian Wetting busy and doing a fine job. Late in the half Kawerau were starting to gain some control of the possession and, after thirty five minutes, they opened the scoring. Rangers were by no means out of it, but soon afterwards came a moment of controversy. Keeper Wetting was judged to have carried the ball outside the box and referee Neil McCready awarded a free kick. The ball was quickly squared across goal for a tap in, catching the Rangers defence napping. It gave the visitors a 2 – 0 lead going into the break and didn't really indicate the battle the game had been.
In the second half, Kawerau maintained their grip on proceedings, Hamiora Awhimate instrumental with his strong showing in the midfield. Rangers still played the ball around well, but had less chances. There were the usual whole hearted challenges that you'd expect in a local derby, but referee McCready did a good job of keeping a lid on tempers. With fifteen minutes left, a Kawerau attack was ended by a push in the box. The resulting penalty was dispatched and Kawerau had the game safe. The final score Plains Rangers 0, Kawerau 3.
Kawerau deserved their win, but they had certainly been made to work for it. Right back Carl Imlig put in his best shift for Rangers, others to impress included Wetting and James Hart. This Saturday Rangers men are in a Bay Sports Centre Bowl quarter final away to Rotorua United, a team they lost 3 – 4 to in the league. Kick-off is at 1.30pm.
Rangers' women had to default their game against Kawerau on Sunday and will hope to be able to field a team this Sunday at home to Taupo.