Carterton Rangers narrowly failed to win their 2nd Junior Shield final in 4 years going down 3-1 to favourites KEA.
Rangers were without influential skipper Andrew Stone who suffered a cruciate ligament injury in the semi final. So Mo Hales lead the side. Rangers started much the brighter side and dominated the opening quarter without really creating an opening. Indeed the first decent chance fell to Kea's Wayne Blossom who headed a corner over from 3 yards. Then Rangers took an unexpected lead, a harmless through ball was missed by Mark Wickens in the KEA goal and Mykel Ryan, was on hand to tap home. Wickens then atoned for his error by superbly turning around Jamie McDonagh's low shot. Kea's tactic at this stage seemed to be pump the ball in box and hope, but Daniel Floyd was equal to everything thrown at him. Then in injury time KEA were awarded a penalty after a trip in the area. Liam Godin, hit a kick into the corner but Floyd was equal to it with a superb save low to his right.
The second half started with KEA on top, Godin was again denied by the brilliant Floyd. Hales who was injured early in the game finally had to limp off after an hour and this was a turning point. A couple of minutes later Blossom hit a superb strike from 25 yards that flew past Floyd. Rangers almost hit back straight away, Kevin Brooks was given acres of space in the midfield and he strode forward and he a great shot from 30 odd yards which came back off the post with Wickens well beaten.
KEA then went up the other end and took the lead for the first time. There was more than a suspicion of offside as Godin headed home from close range. KEA were well on top at this stage and the 3rd goal was almost inevitable, it was that man Godin again forcing Floyd into another fine save, but Blossom was on hand to fire home the rebound.
Rangers made a late double change, but despite having the majority of possession they were unable to create any chances and KEA ran out deserved winners.
Photos Courtesy OFA