Rangers keep the pressure on at the top
New Plymouth Rangers continued their impressive form with a 2-1 win over defending league champions Havelock North.
A stunning first half solo effort from Owen Smith opening the scoring. Smith dribbled around several players before calmly slotting the ball into the goal. The score remained 1-0 until half time but Havelock North got themselves straight back into the game, scoring the equaliser in the first minute after the break, the goal scored by Oliver Chapman.
With the game on a knives edge, the match winner came in the 76th minute when Tre DeJohn finished a one on one chance, after a brilliant through ball from Smith. Rangers played with a lot of skill and heart to see out the match and stay within touching distance of first. Rangers are now firmly in second place in the Central Federation League, only behind Whanganui Athletic by 2 points.
Man of the match, Eoin Murphy has played his last game in the blue and black shirt, unfortunately heading back to his home in Ireland. Murphy was a real presence at the back with his size and leadership and will be hard to replace. Matt Hastings however showed he was back to full fitness with a strong display in the midfield and his versatility will be required over the coming weeks.
With the transfer deadline coming up, head coach Manuel Luque is still on the look out for a couple of players to add to the squad. The disjointed nature of this season has meant that a few injuries and a few players having to move away means that to continue the push for the title, the squad will need a bit more depth and competition. Luque said “We have put ourselves in a great position to compete for the league and try for promotion to the Central League. If any local player has aspirations of the pinnacle of winter league football they really need to come and train with us and be a part of our push in the second round”
This week the team travel away on Saturday for their midday clash on Sunday against Napier Marist in Napier.