Plains Rangers had their first loss of the season on Saturday when they met Papamoa Old Boys in a top of the table clash in BOP division two.
Rangers took on their hosts in a confident mood, but had to play into a strong breeze that helped Papamoa keep the pressure on Rangers. The Rangers defence stood strong, with keeper Christian Wetting mopping up the through balls well. Later in the half Rangers began to make good headway, mainly through the strong runs of Kaleb Muggeridge on the left flank. After half an hour Rangers supporters were hopeful when a cross from the left was headed goalwards by Earle Tuhimata, bringing a good save from the keeper. However, Tuhimata, who was linking well with the midfield, was unfortunately injured in the action and had to be replaced. Rangers continued to put their play together better, but Wetting had to make two excellent saves to keep it scoreless at half time.
Rangers tried to turn up the heat on their hosts after the break. It nearly paid off. Eight minutes into the second half a lovely pass from Hamish Wilde put David Wakelin through and he forced the Papamoa keeper into a good diving save. However, Papamoa bounced straight back and scored from a quick break down the right flank, the cross was turned home for a well worked goal. The introduction of Phil Ballingall up front for Rangers meant the home team had to sit back and protect their lead for a while. However, midway through the half Papamoa made the game safe with two goals in quick succession. Rangers worked hard to get back into the game, but the home team held them out with solid defence. The final score was Papamoa Old Boys 3, Plains Rangers 0.
Rangers would have been disappointed that they couldn't get their best passing game going consistently on the day. However, there were some notable individual efforts. Young Levi McIntyre was named player of the day for a hard-working effort on the wing. Carl Imlig too was in excellent form in the centre of defence and he worked a good partnership with Aaron Muggeridge to limit the threat of the well performed Papamoa attackers. Behind them Christian Wetting was, as usual, very difficult to get past.
This Saturday Rangers have a home game against Taupo Lakers. Kick off at the Edgecumbe Domain is at 2pm.