Plains Rangers AFC
19th May 2021
Plains Rangers 4, Ngongotaha 5
Even a first half hat-trick by striker Hamish Wilde couldn't get Plains Rangers over the line when they hosted Ngongotaha at Edgecumbe on Saturday. Rangers began the game with the strong wind at their backs and immediately put pressure on their visitors. However, the wind played a part against Rangers for the opening goal. Ngongotaha cleared their lines with a strong kick, the ball held in the wind allowing their quick striker to get to it before the advancing keeper and the visitors were on the board after ten minutes. Hamish Wilde got Rangers back on level terms ten minutes later with a calm finish. Then in a late flurry of action, Wilde got a good header on a Phil Ballingall cross to put the home team ahead. Wilde scored with his left foot to complete a 'perfect' hat trick and Rangers looked in control. The wind had another say in the game just before half time when a swirling Ngongotaha shot bounced off the Rangers' crossbar and the follow up buried it in the net to make the half time score 3 – 2 to Rangers.
Ngongotaha changed their style of play with the wind at their backs and used shorter passing through the midfield. The first pay-off came fifteen minutes into the second half when a foul inside the Rangers area led to a penalty and important home team midfielder Earle Tuhimata carried off injured. Ngongotaha dispatched the penalty to even up the scores. They took the lead five minutes later with a thunderous shot from 25 metres. The see-sawing game took another twist when Wilde put young Elijah Wetting into a gap, and he beat the keeper from the edge of the area with a good strike. The visitors, however, had the last say, working the ball into the Rangers area and finishing off with an unsavable shot that went in off the post. The final score: Plains Rangers 4, Ngongotaha 5.
For Rangers, the player of the day was Hamish Wilde and the Ngongotaha goalkeeper earned the plaudits for his team. Rangers will be sweating on the recovery of some of the growing list of injured players with some important games coming up. This Saturday Rangers are home again, this time to league leaders Tauranga Old Blues. Kick-off at the Edgecumbe Domain is at 2pm.