On Saturday Plains Rangers men travelled to play Papamoa Dou Bros. Rangers were missing both regular strikers, so some rearrangements were made to the line-up. The pitch was very small, meaning the play was quite compressed at times. The home team made the most of home advantage and got off to a flier. They scored the opener in the third minute with a good cross and finish from close range. Rangers settled in to control a lot of possession, but had difficulty finding the front runners with their passes. Papamoa had the occasional break out and in the 35th minute Rangers keeper Christian Wetting pulled off a vital diving save. Papamoa got increasingly desperate to break up the Rangers play and committed a succession of fouls. In the last minute of the half, Rangers captain James Hart powered a freekick against the underside of the crossbar, but it rebounded away and was cleared. At the break Rangers were frustrated to be down 1 – 0.
Rangers started the second half brightly; Phil Ballingall hit the crossbar in the second minute. Three minutes later Jon Barnes had a great shot well saved by the home team keeper. However, Papamoa pounced on an error in the Rangers defence and scored to give themselves a buffer. Rangers continued to attack. Ian Gray put a shot just over the bar. Midway through the half, Papamoa failed to clear a long throw in from Hamish Wilde and Ballingall poked it into the goal. Rangers continued their onslaught and got an equaliser in a similar manner. Wilde's long throw was headed powerfully into the net by Ballingall. Papamoa, though, worked hard to defend the final five minutes and managed to hang on for a 2 – 2 draw.
Rangers would be frustrated with the draw after targeting the game as winnable, but deserve credit for coming back to earn the draw. Phil Ballingall was named player of the day for a big contribution on debut. Others to shine were Ian Gray who won some towering headers in defence against a tall competent striker, and Matt Dalgity who linked up well down the right flank with Jon Barnes.
This Saturday Rangers are at home to league leaders Taupo and will hope to improve on their 0 – 0 draw in the first round meeting.
On Sunday Rangers women hosted league leaders Te Puke in what they knew would be a tough game. Rangers held out for a big part of the first half before conceding the first goal. Rangers have steadily improved their passing game all season, and used this to frustrate the high flying visitors. In the end though Te Puke were too strong, winning 8 – 0. Rangers' defenders worked hard to contain them, with Laura Powick, Rhylee Mahy and Sarah Boyce showing out. Player of the day Julie Reihana's energy made a great contribution. Others to impress were Rachel Elliot, Jenny McIntyre and Danielle Haldane.
This weekend Rangers women have a bye.
Us VS Te Puke 0 - 8
What a day at the office ladies, at least we didn't get rained on. We always knew today was going to be a hard game for us, but we played our game plan and we held them out really well. It took them ages to score that first goal and you could tell by the way we were playing that they were finding it hard to get through and they were getting pisses about it. Each week our passing is getting better and better ladies. Well done.
Everyone had a great game. Laura Powick you did awesome work in the backline, you did what we asked of you and it paid off. Rhylee Mahy you had another amazing game in the backline, you were getting right in there. Sarah Boyce you had a great game as well. Danielle Haldane another great game from you. Jenny McIntyre as always what can I say... you were just you. Rachel Elliot another great game from you as well. Thanks Stevie Clarke for your massive 30 seconds. You're a star. Player of the day goes to our little fire cracker Julie Reihana. You had an amazing game as always. You never let us down and you just keep going like a little energizer bunny.