On Saturday SLH Contracting Plains Rangers returned to league action with a home game against Katikati. The first half was a very even hard fought affair. After four minutes Rangers' attacker Sione Lotu put a header wide. Soon after, Kirk Bain showed the benefit of placing defenders on the post at a corner when he headed a goal bound shot off the Rangers line. After fifteen minutes Katikati had the ball in the home team's net, but it was ruled out for off-side. A minute later Ben Howe had a shot well saved by the Katikati keeper. The visitors had a number of corners, but Rangers' keeper Christian Wetting was off his line well to claim them in the air.
At half time the game was locked at nil all.
Like the previous week, Rangers were vulnerable after the break and conceded a goal to a well worked Katikati attack down their left wing. However, Rangers got back on level footing a few minutes later when substitute Petir Gray collected the ball 25 metres from goal. He beat three defenders with good footwork and then placed a swerving shot past the keeper. It was a great goal, which got the home supporters going. Rangers were playing better football in the second half, linking their play better and soon got their noses in front. Jaiden Ibbetson pressurized the defence down the left, a defender got in a tangle and went to ground, handling the ball. Christian Wetting stepped up to take the penalty and blasted it home. Rangers kept up their intensity through to the final whistle to claim the win 2 – 1.
The game was hard fought, but it was well controlled by referee Nigel Pryde. Rangers' player of the day was Ben Howe, who held the ball up well up front and had several nice attempts on goal. Others to shine were Jordan Ogilvy, who was strong in defence, Kirk Bain and Petir Gray.
This weekend Rangers men are away to Otumoetai.
On Sunday Plains Rangers women had a local derby with Whakatane Town. Whakatane's slick passing and ball skills put pressure on the Rangers defence, and despite some fine saves by Radhika Arulambalam in goal, they were 8 – 0 up at half time. Rangers put their game together considerably better in the second half. Mishka Barry created a few decent efforts on goal. The final score was 12 – 0 to the home team. Caitlin Stuckey was player of the day for her work in defence. Others to shine were Laura Powick, Jenny McIntyre, Emma Bradnock and Joe Ingle.
This Sunday Rangers women are away at Ngongotaha.