Plains Rangers FC

22 June 2024
Ngongotaha Lakes 1, Rangers men 2

Plains Rangers men's team travelled to play Ngongotaha Lakes in Rotorua on Saturday, looking to do better than the 1 – 1 draw the first time the two met this season. Rangers almost got off to a flier when young midfielder Kobi Wetting went close to heading in a long throw-in in the first moments. The home team settled down to a good passing game though, while Rangers took quite a while to get their combinations working. Midway through the half Ngongotaha missed a great opportunity to score, but made up for it shortly after, winning the ball in midfield and blasting a shot past stand-in keeper Elijah Wetting. Rangers almost bounced back immediately, when the home team keeper had to make a great diving save to keep out a James Hart free-kick. Rangers turned up the pressure and Ben McPherson had a shot cleared off the line by a defender. Ngongotaha continued to attack well too and Rangers defender Teimana Awhimate got in a somewhat lucky block of a goalbound shot to keep the score at 1 – 0 at the break.
Rangers changed their formation at the start of the second half, bringing Elias Thomas back into the midfield and this helped lift the team play for the rest of the match. The nice hold-up play of sole striker Jesse Meadows also gave Rangers a boost. After seven minutes captain Hart had another free-kick well saved. Five minutes later midfielder Hamish Wilde placed a great left footed shot out of the keeper's reach, from 20 metres, to even up the scores. One minute later Sione Lotu, whose powerful running caused plenty of problems for the Rotorua team, hit the crossbar with a shot and then put another effort just wide. Ngongotaha weren't letting their visitors have all the action though and an attack saw Elijah Wetting making an outstanding one-on-one save at the feet of their striker. Midway through the half, a delightful chip pass from Wilde put Meadows through the defence and he took it round the keeper to score with a composed finish. Late in the game the home team tried their best to get an equaliser, but Rangers saw the game out very well, with Thomas instrumental in keeping his team calm in possession. The final score was Ngongotaha Lakes 1, Plains Rangers 2.
Rangers were pleased to grab the win, and deserved it with their strong showing in the second half. Elijah Wetting was named player of the day, showing outstanding confidence in his play in goal and contributing well to the team. Ollie Fort was another to put in a fine performance, making some good positive play from defence. The game was well refereed by Dave Taylor.
This Saturday Rangers men have shifted the venue for their home game against Omokoroa Fury to Trident High School, because the Edgecumbe Domain is unavailable. Kick-off is at 2.30pm.
Rangers women's game with Whakatane Town has been postponed to this Wednesday, under lights in Whakatane. Kick-off there is at 6.30pm

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