Plains Rangers AFC

28 April 2018
Plains Rangers men, HNK Auckland 2

A windswept showery Awakeri was the setting for the much anticipated Chatham Cup clash on Saturday between SLH Contracting Plains Rangers and HNK Auckland. Quite a good crowd was on hand to watch, despite the conditions.
The visitors started out with some threatening attacks, but they were thwarted by a brilliant reaction save from Rangers' keeper Christian Wetting who pushed a goal-bound strike over the bar from close quarters. Rangers grew in confidence and were awarded several freekicks for fouls against them. After ten minutes Jaiden Ibbetson hit the crossbar from one of these freekicks. The rest of the half was evenly fought with some fast flowing football. Jordan Ogilvy on Rangers left flank caused trouble with his direct running. After twenty minutes player-coach Wetting pulled off another good save in a one-on-one with an HNK striker. Rangers had their best spell leading up to half time. Ogilvy had a header well saved. The score was locked at 0 – 0 at the interval.
Rangers wanted to continue their good play where they had left off, but early in the second half the visitors finally found some space in from of goal and duly scored. The wind seemed to pick up as the half went on and though Rangers tried hard to make headway against it, they were pinned back for lengthy spells. The crowd urged them on whenever they could push forward. However, it took a late disputed penalty to make the game safe for the Croatian-based Auckland side, to take the game 2 – 0.
Coach Christian Wetting after the game took a lot of positives out of the game and being in the Chatham Cup for only the second time in Rangers' history. "We were really proud of the way we played, we acquitted ourselves well. They (Auckland) came out of the blocks fast, but we clawed our way into the match. We moved the ball around well and had their defence scrambling at times.
The opposition contested the ball very strongly, they were fast and strong. They had some Chatham Cup winners in their squad, so they were experienced at what was required.
The game was played in a competitive but very fair spirit.
HNK Auckland were very impressed with the facilities and the spirit of the football. They have invited our club back to play them so they can host us, as a 'brother' club."

Hamish Wilde was named Rangers' player of the day after his hard working efforts in the midfield, but the whole Rangers team will have enjoyed pitting themselves against some slick opposition.
This weekend Rangers are back into league action, at home to Katikati. Kick off at Awakeri is at 2 pm.
On Sunday Plains Rangers women's game against Otumoetai was called off because of flooding on the pitch. This Sunday Rangers women are away to Whakatane Town.