Forest Rangers start season with a draw against Castlemaine

FOREST Rangers have fought out a thrilling draw against Castlemaine in the opening round of the Ballarat District Soccer Association’s men’s division one league on Sunday.

The league newcomers hosted the match at the Chewton Soldiers Memorial Park but looked in dire straits until they scored an equaliser late in the second-half to make the final score 1-1.

The Rangers went into half-time with a 1-0 lead after a Castlemaine goal, but gave up the ascendency in injury time when they conceded a goal to Castlemaine’s Angus Maclaurin.

Rangers head coach Rod Brissenden was pleased with the overall result and says the club’s focus is on building up its list for the coming seasons.

“We had a rough idea of what we were up against; they’re in a bit of a rebuilding phase like us,” Brissenden said.

“This club hasn’t had any good strength or depth for years and at the moment it’s all about bringing in a higher standard of football and skills.

“We’ve got a lot of good under-17 players who we’re hoping to work into the senior system – and we’ve got a new player development officer in Charlie Payton.”

Brissenden nominated Rangers captain Jack Maule as his best on ground, while new recruit Matthew Skontra was also prominent.

Next week the Rangers will be boosted by the return of Daniel Cook, who is returning from injury.

In other matches defending champions Warrnambool opened its season with a 3-1 win over Vic Park while Ballarat thrashed North United to the tune of 5-1.