Plains Rangers AFC
9 & 10 June 2018
Plains Rangers men 4, Rotorua United 0
TCU 13, Plains Rangers women 0
On Saturday SLH Contracting Plains Rangers men were at home to Rotorua United, in the first round of the new combined league. A series of mistakes by the home team gave their Bay Two visitors a few chances in the first ten minutes, however, Rangers eventually settled and started controlling their possession. After twenty minutes Xavier Bain got down the left wing and pulled the ball across goal for captain Jaiden Ibbetson to bury in the net. Three minutes later more Rangers pressure led to a Rotorua defender handling the ball in his penalty area. Christian Wetting stepped up from goalkeeping duties to score the penalty. Just before halftime lively striker Sione Lotu went on a great run down the right, cut in and shot, but the visiting keeper pulled off an excellent save to deny him. At the break the score was 2 – 0.
At half time player-coach Wetting exhorted his troops to control the game by retaining quality possession. Rangers set out to do that in the second half and it paid dividends. Ten minutes into the half Xavier Bain had a strike on goal that the keeper parried, but player of the day Husnul Gray followed up and scored to extend Rangers' lead. Midway through the half Jaiden Ibbetson doubled his tally, sliding a shot under the keeper. Thereafter Rangers created quite a few chances but couldn't quite put them away. The final score Plains Rangers 4, Rotorua United 0.
It was a very solid game from Rangers and should provide a stepping stone up the league. Apart from the energetic Husnul Gray, James Hart and Xavier Bain also stood out with their contributions.
This Saturday Rangers men are away to Papamoa.
On Sunday Plains Rangers women also started a new split league. They had a tough day away to Tauranga City, going down 13 – 0 in the end. Their player of the day was Gemma Stuckey who was flattened by the keeper but came back on to play with determination. Amber McKenzie and Laura Powick also had good games.