Despite turning in what their coach described as their “worst half of football for the season”, Rangers AFC retained their unbeaten record in the Nelson division one competition and took out first round honours.
They met second-placed Richmond at A and P Park on Saturday and came away with a 2-2 draw after trailing 2-0 at the break.
Player/coach Tore Waechter said the home side “were their own worst enemies”.
“It is a good learning curve for us and just goes to show that if you are not totally switched on you will get punished in this league.
“The good part though was the fact that the boys can take a lot of credit for putting the first half behind them and turning in a much better effort after halftime.”
The first half was a horror show for Rangers and their home supporters, missing several clear cut chances to get on the scoreboard while gifting their opponents a goal with a poor back pass and another when they were caught out by Richmond’s long ball attack, a tactic the visitors employed throughout.
Following halftime however it was a different story, Rangers dominating possession although many more scoring chances were spurned. Rangers’ first goal came from a lengthy goal kick, taken by Harrison Pine, which cleared the Richmond back four giving Carl Connor-McClean a chance to find the net with his first touch.
The equaliser came with 10 minutes to go, Waechter drilling home a free kick. Although they had several more opportunities in the closing stages to grab a winner, Waechter said, “It just wasn’t our day”.
Julian Delgado was a standout in midfield for the home side, as was Pine on the left flank and Sam Pearson on the right hand side.
Rangers face two more rounds in the top of the south league, kicking off round two with a match-up against Nelson FC in Blenheim next week.
Bullets win again
Meanwhile, the BV Bullets continued on their merry way in the Nelson women’s division one competition, beating Nelson Suburbs 6-3 at Saxton Fields on Saturday.
Six goals were scored in the first 30 minutes, helping BV to a 5-2 halftime advantage.
Suburbs scored first, but BV replied immediately through a superb strike from Tessa Hyland.
Suburbs went 2-1 up before Tiana Williams levelled proceedings.
A well-taken Lucy Martin free kick gave the visitors a 3-2 lead, before Williams bagged a second. Martin then completed her brace to put BV well in charge heading into the break.
The second half was less frantic, Riley Preece scoring BV’s sixth before the home side grabbed their third.
Hyland put in a top contribution in midfield while Bullets’ player of the day was hard-working back Erin Mustey.
Divisions one, two
Bottle-O BV Masters, Central Wolves and Call Care Trojans were the victors in Mayfield Motorworld division one matches played on Saturday.
In the top-of-the-table clash Wolves scored a comprehensive 5-1 win over Cobras to go clear at the head of the standings. Wolves led 3-1 at halftime, courtesy of goals to Andrew McCaa, Steve McCaa and Matt Stretch. In the second half Steve McCaa completed his hat-trick to ensure Wolves grabbed all three points. Anthony Michaels scored a consolation goal for Cobras.
BV Masters moved in to second place with a 5-1 win over Rangers Clubs of Marlborough. Masters led 3-0 at halftime, Matt Robertson, Andrew McFarlane and Ben Clarke finding the net. In the second spell Mark Elkington scored twice while Andrew Wheeler bagged a late goal for Clubs.
The third game saw Call Care Trojans down Central Buccaneers 2-1, through a first half goal to Tomas Lupani and a second to Gustavo Cruz midway through the second spell. T Hall scored for Central with five minutes to go.
Current division one standings: Central Wolves 10, BV Masters 8, BV Cobras 6, Central Buccaneers 4, Trojans 4, Rangers Clubs of Marlborough 1.
Decisive scorelines marked the three division two matches. Rangers Masters beat Call Care Spartans 3-0, Rangers Development downed Redwood Masters 6-1 and Picton Crow Tavern eclipsed Central Privateers 5-1.