Comag Matamata Swifts have completed a Loaded WaiBOP Premiership league double over Waikato Unicol after returning from Hamilton’s Jansen Park on Saturday with a 2-1 victory in the bank.
A week after Matamata had lost by the same score at lowly Tauranga Blue Rovers, the Swifts secured three important points to stay on the fringes of the 2018 title race.
As expected, Matamata had to soak up a lot of early pressure. Unicol has been one of the form teams over the last couple of months and showed why. The Swifts, missing three senior strikers, had Mike Smith pressed into an unfamiliar role. He, along with captain Bjorn Vossen, who was back in the side after suspension, kept the ship steady and allowed their team to grow into the game.
Brad West opened the scoring on the half hour mark, showing strength to hold off his marker before finishing nicely for his sixth goal of the season.
Matamata held their lead into half time and beyond, but Unicol were always a threat to level. They finally managed their goal well into the second half to set up a grandstand finish between two sides that knew a point was next to worthless.
Fortune this week shone on the Swifts as they were awarded a penalty in the final minute of the match, setting up the opportunity to claim a big victory. Jamie Baxter stroked the ball home to the delight of his team mates.
Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves headed east to take on WaiBOP Championship high-flyers, Kawerau Sports. After travelling by two at the break things fell apart during the second half for the reserves as Kawerau completed an 8-0 victory.
On Sunday, Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies progressed to the semi-finals of the Waikato Ladies Plate competition after a tense 2-1 victory over Melville United Epics at the Domain. Maggie Leaver and a Melville own goal got the job done for Matamata, but the match was typical cup fare in that the Swifts hit the woodwork four times and were repeatedly denied by a strong showing from the visitors’ goalkeeper.
The Camel Kebab Swifts 3rd team continued their excellent run in the Waikato Sunday League with another win, this time 2-1 in Hamilton over the Maniacs. Chris Bedford rammed one home from the penalty spot and Shaun Richardson also scored to help wrap up a solid victory.
Photo: Lawrence Gullery (Stuff).