Plains Rangers FC
19 & 20 August 2023
Otumoetai 3, Rangers men 0
Rangers women 4, Otumoetai 1
Plains Rangers women finished off their season in fine style on Sunday. Rangers were at home to Otumoetai in fairly wintry conditions, but they started off very well. A long clearance from centre defender Danielle Giordano found striker Ella-Rose Bain and she powered a good shot into the goal after only five minutes. Ten minutes later defender Rose Sinkinson struck a shot from 40 m and was unlucky to see it bounce back off the post. Rangers are playing a good brand of passing football these days and they had nice spells of possession, but they didn't score again until ten minutes before half time. Keeper Katie Mahy launched a bomb upfield and striker Dani Howard ran onto it and slotted it past the keeper. The visitors did not back down though and scored with a good low shot five minutes later. At half time Rangers led 2 – 1.
Twenty minutes into the second half Howard almost made the game safe when she hit the crossbar after a good run, but fellow attacker Bain did the job shortly afterward, winning the ball and hitting it over the Otumoetai keeper's head. Late in the game Lily Muggeridge turned a nice square pass across goal for Howard to score and make the result a 4 – 1 win to Rangers.
Centre midfielder Danielle Haldane was named player of the day, with Howard and Giordano also in top form. Rangers would be pleased to have finished the season with four straight wins, a credit to the players and coaches Sam McPherson and James Hart.
On Saturday Plains Rangers men also played an Otumoetai team, away at Fergusson Park. It started out as a very even battle and Rangers nearly opened the scoring after twenty minutes. Striker Earle Tuhimata robbed the keeper and sent the ball goalwards. However, an alert defender raced back to clear the ball off the goal-line. It proved decisive, as a minute later a home team attacker beat several Rangers players in a good run before slotting it into the goal. The Rangers defence had their hands full with some skilful opponents. It wasn't long before Otumoetai doubled their lead, a ball over the top of the defence was volleyed home.
At half time Rangers changed their formation to try and get back into the game. There was almost immediate joy. An early attack saw James Hart head the ball through for young striker Ollie Fort to run onto and only a frantic scramble kept his effort at bay. Rangers worked hard for the rest of the half trying to get a goal back, but Otumoetai repelled them and added icing to the cake two minutes into injury time. Their keeper launched a long clearance down field and a striker managed to get his head to the ball while colliding with Rangers' keeper Josiah Atkinson and put it in the goal. The result Otumoetai 3, Plains Rangers 0.
Rangers men have a week off before two final games, both against high fliers: Papamoa United and Tauranga City Juggernauts.
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