SLH Contracting Plains Rangers travelled to play Papamoa in the combined BOP men's league. The home team gave Rangers quite a challenge from the start, with their speed up front causing problems. Rangers had to scramble to defend their goal early, with Jordan Ogilvy heading the ball off the line at a corner. After fifteen minutes Rangers were putting some attacks together and had a goal disallowed through offside. It was an even battle, but eventually Rangers broke the deadlock. Ten minutes before halftime, captain Jaiden Ibbetson went on a great run down the left and pulled the ball across goal. Midfielder Ryan Elliot raced in to score, putting Rangers ahead. Rangers nearly went further ahead when Hamish Wilde had a shot from close range blocked bravely by a Papamoa defender on the line. However, the home team bounced back just before the break. Ex-Rangers player Chris Dell fed the ball down the wing, and the resulting cross was finished off well to bring the sides level 1 – 1.
The second half almost started disastrously for Rangers. Papamoa were allowed to get in close to goal and somehow survived: keeper Christian Wetting pulled off a good save, Jordan Ogilvy blocked the shot on the rebound, and then a third shot hit the post! Ten minutes later, Wetting was again called on to make a fine save, this time with his legs. However, Rangers were putting together some good moves too and a few minutes later Ryan Elliot put over a cross which Hamish Wilde volleyed superbly into the goal from twenty metres. Rangers had the upper hand for most of the rest of the game, controlling quite a bit of the play. The final score was Papamoa 1, Plains Rangers 2.
Papamoa might well feel that they deserved better, Rangers' keeper had denied them several times. Rangers will feel that they played the better football overall and deserved their win. James Hart was named player of the day for Rangers with a focused performance in defence. Christian Wetting, Jordan Ogilvy and Petir Gray were also in top form.
This Saturday Rangers are at home to Whakatane reserves in the Bay Sports Centre Bowl. Kick off at Awakeri is at 2.30pm.