Plains Rangers AFC
23 September 2017
Plains Rangers men 1, Katikati 4
A good first half was not enough for SLH Contracting Plains Rangers on Saturday, but it was too much for visitors Katikati to achieve their goal. Katikati arrived at Awakeri needing a big win to secure the BOP division one title.
The home team was determined to put up a good showing to make life difficult for their visitors. The game started out with Katikati pushing hard and putting pressure on the home defence. However, the defence held firm and with Christian Wetting getting off his line well to thwart the through balls, Rangers came more into the game. Good passing through the midfield led to an increasing number of chances for Rangers. After seventeen minutes young striker Petir Gray had a shot well saved by the visiting keeper. Soon afterwards however, Katikati scored on the break. Rangers kept at their work and were justly rewarded on the half hour. Sione Lotu won the ball from a dallying Katikati defender and Petir Gray slotted it home. At the break Rangers felt well in the game at 1 – 1 and playing well.
Desperation fired the visitors into life in the second half. Five minutes into the half Wetting pulled off a brilliant save from a close range deflected shot and defender Levi Riri cleared the ball off his goal line. Rangers were still causing some problems. Jason Pullar fired a shot wide. The tide turned though after fifteen minutes. A Katikati defender was fouled in the penalty area and referee Andrew Mitchell had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. The penalty was converted well. Two minutes later a long shot took a deflection and Wetting got his fingers to the ball but couldn't keep it out. The visitors' hopes rose even further three minutes later when another attack bore fruit and they must have thought that their chance had returned. However, Rangers pulled it back together and defended soundly for the rest of the game. The final score was 4 – 1 to Katikati.
Rangers named Levi Riri player of the day for his work in defence. Others to shine were brothers Petir and Husnul Gray and Matt Dalgity. Katikati for their part were happy enough to finish second in the league to Kawerau on goal difference, while the Kawerau spectators on the sideline were the happiest group of the day!
This Saturday Plains Rangers wrap up their season with another home game, the postponed fixture against Rotorua United. Kick off at Awakeri is at 2pm