On Saturday, Plains Rangers men travelled to play Papamoa Old Boys in BOP division two. Both teams played a good passing brand of football and were fairly evenly matched. Midway through the first half Rangers broke the deadlock. Ian Gray swung a freekick into the box, it was headed on by Rangers captain James Hart and Sione Lotu belted it into the net. Rangers created more opportunities but were unable to capitalise before the break.
The home team came out fired up in the second half. After three minutes a Papamoa player was brought down in the box. The resulting penalty was well struck, but player-coach Christian Wetting made a brilliant save and then leapt up to prevent the rebound going into the net. However, from the following corner, the referee spotted a push in front of goal and awarded another penalty to Papamoa. This time it was converted well. Ten minutes later Rangers got back in front after a good team move. The final pass came courtesy of young Elijah Wetting and Aaron Muggeridge swept the ball into the goal.
The home team were desperate to find an equaliser and pushed hard. However, Rangers' defence, with Ian Gray in commanding form, held them out for a 2 – 1 win.
It was a good team performance by Rangers, with centre midfielder Hamish Wilde's hard work earning him player of the match.
The win puts Rangers at the top of division two, with previous leaders Taupo being held to a draw. However, Taupo have played one fewer game. This weekend's clash with the only team to have beaten Rangers in the first round will be crucial. Third placed Old Blues travel to Edgecumbe to meet Plains Rangers, kick off on Saturday is at 2.30pm.
On Sunday Plains Rangers women travelled to a windswept Otumoetai. Rangers won the toss and elected to play into the wind. The strategy seemed to have worked. Rangers held out well and even took the lead midway through the half. Some good passes got the ball to Mishka Barry on the edge of the goal area. She beat two defenders and then shot the ball over the keeper into the net. However, the home team finally got on the score sheet ten minutes later to even things up. In added time Otumoetai scored with a great strike from 20 metres to take the lead.
The second half brought a change in the weather, unluckily for Rangers. The wind dropped, enabling the speedy Otumoetai forwards to get some runs at the tiring Rangers defence. The home team scored a couple of early goals and took control, to eventually secure a 6 – 1 win.
Rangers player of the match was Julie Reihana, who played some lovely football on the wing. Others to impress included Danielle Haldane, Amie Morris and Rhylee Mahy who did some great work in defence. Rangers only had two subs and a growing injury toll.
This Sunday Rangers women are at home to Blue Rovers.