Rangers AFC maintained their unbeaten record in Marlborough division one football this season, but only just.
On Saturday they took on an improving Central Pirates side, one of two division one clashes, and came out on top 5-4.
Pirates struck first at A and P Park, Mike Jay turning in the rebound from a saved Chris Turkington penalty shot.
Rangers replied quickly though, scoring twice from set pieces, before Andrew McCaa equalised from a free kick to leave the sides locked together 2-2 at half time.
Rangers struck first in the second spell, a cross looping over Pirates’ keeper and finding the back of the net. However Pirates were soon on level terms, Jay scoring after getting on the end of a pinpoint corner.
Jay was at it again soon after, notching his hat-trick after a flowing build-up and precise finish.
However it was Rangers who had the final say, finishing strongly with two late goals to decide an evenly-contested match that could have gone either way.
Martin Delgado and Adam Rose scored twice for Rangers, Julian Delgado adding the other.
Pirates’ spokesman McCaa said, “It would have been a great match to watch but we were disappointed with the result and conceding the two late goals”.
The other division one clash was played at Athletic Park where Central Wolves downed BV Marlborough Boys’ College 3-1.
Nick Weaver, Aaron Hayes and Greg Slatter scored Wolves’ goals, Slatter and Chris Nott being their players of the day.
MBC coach Gareth Pugh said his side had played some good possession football and, despite going 3-0 down, never quit.
“We played some good combination football in the last quarter but failed to capitalise on our chances. We created seven shooting chances in the first half as well but failed to concern the keeper.
“Sid Knobben had an excellent game and also stepped up to playing a creative role in midfield when Ryan Palmer had to leave the field with a head knock.”
Standings: Rangers AFC 3, Central Pirates 3, Central Wolves 3, BV Cobras 1, BV MBC 1.
In Saturday’s Nelson division one women’s match, the Blenheim Valley Bullets took on FC Nelson at A and P Park and were defeated 4-1.
In a hard-fought encounter, the visitors scored early through Hayley Maddner and were denied a second soon after, Bullets keeper Maggie Lane saving an impressive goal-bound strike from Nelson’s Grace Roche.
However, Roche couldn’t be denied 10 minutes later, putting Nelson 2-0 ahead when another soundly struck ball made its way over the line.
In the second half BV found more attacking rhythm and were duly rewarded when a convincing strike from Emily Overend found the back of net.
Nelson finished strongly, goals to Hannah Biby and Roche clinching a 4-1 win, although the scoreline did not reflect the home side’s efforts.
Creditable performances came from Lauren Sloan in midfield, Hannah Martin in defense, and Erin Mustey with her second-half stint in goal, before she was taken out by an unfortunate boot to the head. Lane was BV’s player of the day.