Plains Rangers AFC

10 April 2021
Otumoetai Special Reserve 4, Plains Rangers 4

Plains Rangers got off to an entertaining start in their 2021 campaign in BOP division two on Saturday. Rangers played Otumoetai Special Reserve on a wet windy Fergusson Park, with several players making their debut for the club. Rangers had the wind behind them and were in front after only five minutes. Player-coach Christian Wetting powered up into the midfield from the defence and hit a beauty from over 20 metres that sailed into the net. Ten minutes later the home team got lucky when a sliced clearance found their player in space in front of goal and he poked the ball home. Rangers had a further setback two minutes later when Otumoetai scored from a header off a corner to take the lead. That was very short lived however, when a quick break involving striker Phil Ballingall found Rangers left winger Kaleb Muggeridge in the box and he slotted the chance. Rangers put a lot of pressure on the home team and almost took the lead when a Hamish Wilde shot from distance rebounded off the crossbar. On the half hour Rangers scored. Christian Wetting nodded in a James Hart corner. At half time Rangers had the 3 – 2 lead, but knew the second half would be a challenge.
Otumoetai pressed, with the help of the strong breeze and evened up the scores after 20 minutes, after finding a route through the Rangers defence. Rangers pushed hard and retook the lead five minutes later when the hard-working Sione Lotu scored with a header from another Hart corner. Rangers held out their hosts until late in the game when Otumoetai scored off another corner to have the game in the balance once more. In the final minute Rangers might well have won the game when Sione Lotu beat the home team keeper to the ball and sent a shot goalwards, a defender got back and cleared it, with the Rangers players appealing that the ball had crossed the line. The goal, though, was not given and the score remained 4 – 4.
Player of the day for Rangers was Jacob Davis, who did a sound job in defence in his first game for the club.
This Saturday Plains Rangers look forward to their first home game of the season when they host Papamoa Buccaneers. Kick off at the Edgecumbe Domain is at 2pm.