Plains Rangers men bounced back in style from their loss last week, when they travelled to play Otumoetai Special Reserve on Saturday. A strong crosswind throughout the game did affect play, but both teams managed to play good football in spite of it.
Rangers took the upper hand from the beginning, using effective passing throughout to get their forwards into threatening positions. Striker Phil Ballingall got through twice in the early minutes and then hit the crossbar with a fierce shot. In the 14th minute he converted a good pass to open the scoring. Five minutes later, a nice pass from Hamish Wilde put Jamaal James through and he finished well, placing the ball past the keeper. Otumoetai recovered from the onslaught, keeping Rangers out but the visitors were determined to keep their standards high. On the half hour they produced a sweet team goal. Good passing got the ball to Wilde in the midfield. He squared it wide to James, he took on the defender and laid a great ball through the centre of the Otumoetai defence for Sione Lotu to attack and bury in the net. At half time Rangers led 3 – 0 and the team talk concentrated on keeping the quality passing going in the second half.
The home team though, were in no mood to lie down. They pushed forward hard from the kick off and, in the third minute of the half, scored. Their speedy striker was put through the Rangers defence and managed to squeeze the ball in, despite a brave challenge from Jason Pullar, standing in in the Rangers goal. Rangers came back at their hosts, with good work from Lotu getting the ball in to Sam Christieson who wrong-footed the keeper to score his first goal for Rangers. Five minutes later, Ballingall had his second for the day and Rangers were cruising. Late in the game Wilde capped off a fine game with a goal and then Christieson launched a shot into the top corner. The hosts had never given up throughout, despite Rangers' dominance, and were rewarded with a late consolation goal – a great volley from twenty metres. The final score: Otumoetai 2, Plains Rangers 7.
This was the total team football Rangers have been looking for all season. Player of the day was Jason Pullar for doing a solid job between the sticks in the absence of regular keeper Christian Wetting. Others to shine included Jon Barnes, who did an excellent job keeping a dangerous striker quiet and Hamish Wilde, who provided three assists as well as scoring.
Rangers will want to keep this standard of play up on Saturday as they host fourth placed Tauranga City. Kick off at Edgecumbe is at 2.30pm.
On Sunday Plains Rangers women were at home to Tauranga City. This was an even game, with both teams putting together some good passing. Karen Toone was asked to play in goal for Rangers and did very well getting off her line, and taking the high balls. Laura Powick and Rachel Elliot linked up well in the midfield, while Rhylee Mahy was a constant threat down the wing. In the 43rd minute the visitors finally broke through and scored. Rangers almost scored from the restart, when Mishka Barry sent a great ball forward for Powick who went close, hitting the side netting. Tauranga City held the 1 – 0 lead at half time.
Rangers came out strongly after the break. Dani Howard-Morris was a threat up front, her first appearance coming back from injury early in the season. Mahy and Powick both went close to scoring. Late in the game, Tauranga City scored their second goal to make the game safe, a 2 – 0 win.
Mishka Barry was named player of the day, working hard in a good team performance. This Sunday Rangers' women have their final game of the season, at home to Waiariki. Kick-off is at 12.30pm.
Ranee's report: Us VS Tga City
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What a game we had today ladies, we all played well, we kept our heads and decided to changed some of you around in different positions today. We did some wicked passing and had some good shots on goal. We held them out for 43 minutes before they manged to score that was fantastic work. It was the same in the second half we held them out for ages and they where getting more frustrated that they couldn't put a ball away. Nice ladies. Thank you Karen Toone for standing in the goal today much appreciated and you had a awesome game, thanks for calling MINE for the ball lol. Rhylee Mahy you had a fantastic game on the wing and got some shots on too. Laura Powick great game in the centre mids today, lots of running for you today. Sarah Boyce needs to go too specsavers but other than that you had a good game Sarah, thanks for do the speach too. Hope you had fun just standing on the field Amie Morris. The ref picked our player of the day and that goes to Mishka Barry well done Mish.
Last training this Wednesday ladies, see you there.