Rangers hold on to flying start


PLAINS Rangers football action involved plenty of goals at the weekend, with the men’s and women’s teams having solid, high-scoring games.

Rangers’ men travelled on Saturday to play Otumoetai, who were one place above them in BOP Division 2.

Rangers got off to a flying start. After only four minutes, Jordan Hoete sent over a corner that hung up in the breeze and Rangers’ defender Teimana Awhimate powered in a header unopposed.

The home team didn’t learn from that, though, because four minutes later Hoete sent over another corner and Awhimate repeated the dose, although under more pressure this time.

The home team tried hard to get their tricky forwards into the game, but almost went further behind midway through the half. A Hoete shot beat the keeper but was headed off the line by a defender.

Otumoetai counter-attacked with a good move and scored with a fine shot.

Rangers’ in-form striker Elias Thomas then rounded the keeper after a flowing attack, but his shot was cleared off the line.

Late in the half, Sione Lotu, who had been causing the hosts plenty of problems, and Thomas, put together a great move, but Ben McPherson’s shot went over the bar.

Otumoetai attacked in their turn and went close to equalising when a ball was rolled across the Rangers’ goalmouth, but it wasn’t finished off. At half time, Rangers led 2-1.

The visitors made a quick start to the second half as well. Lotu worked the ball into the box and was felled by a defender. Referee Dave Taylor pointed to the spot and Thomas stepped up to calmly convert the penalty.

Twelve minutes into the half, Thomas was fouled on another run and scored again from the resulting penalty. The home team frustrations were boiling over on the sidelines by this stage, but the players kept their heads.

Midway through the half, Rangers’ substitute Jesse Meadows looked to have scored, following up on a Hoete free kick, but the offside flag was up.

The home team kept up their efforts to get something from the game. With 10 minutes to go, Rangers’ keeper Christian Wetting had to parry a strong shot, but the home team scored from the rebound.

Rangers did well to manage the rest of the 90 minutes without letting their hosts get any more reward. The final score was a deserved win to Rangers 4-2, meaning they leap-frogged their opponents on the points table.

Awhimate was named player of the day for his goals and his usual strong work in the heart of defence.

Others to shine included Hoete, skipper James Hart and Alex Boyce, who made his starting debut.

This Saturday, Rangers’ men are away again, this time to bottom team Papamoa Rovers.

On Sunday, Plains Rangers’ women had fine conditions for their home game against Rotorua side Lakes FC.

The first half was a well-played even game. Rangers moved the ball nicely around the pitch and their passing game continues to improve.

The visitors scored and then late in the half Rangers midfielder Danielle Haldane latched onto a Lakes clearance and smacked a good shot over the keeper’s head from 20 metres and into the top corner. This spurred her team on, and the game went to the break at 1-1.

Both teams came out fired up in the second half. The visitors were the first to take advantage, scoring early on. Midway through the half, a Rose Sinkinson throw-in caused panic in the Lakes penalty area. The visiting keeper lost the ball in the scramble and Haldane was there to place the ball in the back of the net, to even up the scores again.

The visitors had the last say in the game, scoring their third goal and, try as they might, Rangers could not grab an equaliser. The final score: Plains Rangers 2, Lakes FC 3.

Player of the day for Rangers was Jenna McTague, who did a good job filling in for injured goalkeeper Katie Mahy.  

Haldane was also impressive, scoring a double and doing her usual good work in the engine room.

The whole team worked hard and continue to develop their team-play. This coming Sunday, Rangers’ women are home again, this time to Otumoetai.

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