Footballers out in force

Redwood Masters’ striker Ben Mesman bears down on the Spartans’ goal. Photo: Peter Jones.

A dominant first half saw Rangers AFC shoulder their way past Nelson College in their Nelson division one football clash at A and P Park on Saturday.

On a weekend when other sports either cancelled or abbreviated their competitions, Marlborough Football opted to proceed with a full schedule of games on Saturday, from junior through to senior.

Rangers, who are unbeaten in the competition thus far, took full advantage of the opportunity.

They led 3-0 at the halftime break, player/coach Tore Waechter scoring from both a penalty and free kick, while Scott Belsham bagged the third with a long range shot that rocketed under the crossbar.

The students lifted their game after oranges, being rewarded with a goal after 20 minutes when they caught Rangers out defensively, before Sam Pearson wrapped up the home side’s win with a strong run down the right and a clinical finish.

A concern for the home side was an injury to striker Carl Connor-McClean who collided with the Nelson keeper and left the game after suffering a nasty knock. He was replaced by Keagan Mortimer, turning out for the first time this season.

The home side’s player of the day was centre midfielder Julian Delgado, along with defender Jordy Columbus, Belsham and Pearson.

Next weekend Rangers meet Richmond, who they drew with earlier in the season, in a double-header. The match doubles as a league fixture and a second round Knockout Cup match. It will be played in Blenheim.

Meanwhile, the Blenheim Valley Bullets were not able to capitalise on their chances as they went down 3-0 to FC Nelson at Nelson’s Neale Park on Saturday.

Despite some great attacking opportunities in the first spell BV were not able to take full toll, three excellent strikes apiece for Tiana Williams and Lauren Sloan being denied.

Their rivals though did find the back of the net, a corner curving into the goal on the 30 minute mark. Then, just before half time the BV defence failed to cope with a high bouncing ball and FC’s Tessy Dredden scored, taking the home side ahead 2-0 at half time.

BV continued to work hard, creating plenty of goal attempts, but nothing went their way. The home side added a third 10 minutes from the final whistle and although BV finished strongly it was just not their day.

Coach Ian Thomas said, “We put together 12 really strong shots on goal, which any other day could have resulted in a goal. But we just couldn’t find the back of the net today.”

He recognised important contributions from Hannah Martin, Destiny Aires and Alicia McLeod in the backs – and player of the day went to Taz Gilbert for her determined effort in goal in the first half and solid effort in the midfield in the second half.

The first round of the senior Knockout Cup competition was played, with most of the five matches being tight.

Central Privateers prevailed 2-1 against Picton Crow Tavern, Rangers Clubs of Marlborough eased past Rangers Masters 1-0, Rangers Development beat Trojans Dribbles 3-2 while Redwood Masters eventually got the better of Call Care Spartans 3-1.

In the match of the round Central Buccaneers knocked out BV Cobras 4-2 at Athletic Park, the match going to penalties.

Buccaneers scored early through Tom Morley but Cobras levelled soon after when Kerrin O’Malley. A minute later Morley again put Buccaneers ahead, nodding home an excellent Thom Hall cross. However, seven minutes later Dylan Rugman evened the scores at 2-2 going into halftime.

Fifteen minutes into the second spell Hall scored to put Buccaneers ahead again, before Take Thu converted a penalty to lock it up once more.

With no further score in extra time it went to penalties. When Cobras missed two of their first four shots it was Buccaneers’ game to win and they converted their first four to progress to the next round.

In next week’s second round Central Wolves, BV Masters and Trojans step up after first round byes.

Wolves play Rangers Development, BV Masters meet Redwood Masters, Trojans take on Rangers CoM while Central Privateers do battle with clubmates Central Buccaneers.

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