Plains Rangers FC
15 April 2023
Papamoa United 2, Rangers men 0
On Saturday Plains Rangers men travelled to meet Papamoa United. Rangers were without in-form striker Phil Ballingall for what they knew would be a tough game. A strong wind affected proceedings throughout and the home team started off with the wind at their backs. Papamoa showed some very good combinations in their attacking play and kept the Rangers defence busy. Rangers had a number of new combinations and found it harder to build up their play. However, the Rangers defence held firm and at half time the score was 0 – 0.
The home team upped the pressure after the break and hit the woodwork twice, before they scored after fifteen minutes. A well weighted diagonal free kick was sent in and headed into the net from close range. Midway through the half, Rangers started to put a lot of pressure on the home defence. Young Kobi Wetting put a shot just wide. In a succession of attacks, Christian Wetting, Isaiah Davidson and James Hart all had shots saved. With fifteen minutes to go Papamoa had a break-out and scored a well-constructed goal to double their advantage. Late in the game Rangers captain Hart had a well-hit right foot volley from 20m saved and the home team preserved their clean sheet. The final score: Papamoa United 2, Plains Rangers 0.
Rangers would have been disappointed with the result, but the home team deserved their win with a more consistent effort throughout the 90 minutes. Hard-working centre-back Jon Barnes was player of the day for Rangers.
Plains Rangers will put the result behind them as they look forward to playing the Taupo first team in the Chatham Cup this Saturday. The Chatham Cup is New Zealand's premier cup competition and this in only the third time Rangers have entered the Cup. The challenge will be a big one, with the Taupo side playing in a grade three divisions higher than Rangers. The game is at Edgecumbe on Saturday, kick-off at 2.30pm.
Sadly, Plains Rangers women could not field a team on Sunday for their local derby with Whakatane Town and had to default the game.