With expectations raised after a good start to the season, Comag Matamata Swifts suffered something resembling a reality check at Te Awamutu on Saturday.
A generally sluggish performance against a team up for the fight saw the Swifts drop two points after being held to a 1-1 draw.
It could have been worse, with Matamata finally scrambling the ball home off a Te Awamutu defender in second half added time. The home side had been gifted the lead as early as the eleventh minute, when Matamata gave away a penalty that was duly converted.
The Swifts should have been on level terms much earlier than they were, but a lack of composure, some solid defending by the hosts, and a muted overall effort ensured a frustrating day at the office.
Harry Conner’s goal was Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves’ sole reward for an improved second half showing at Claudelands Rovers. A sluggish first half saw the reserves three down at the break and from there getting a result was always going to be a challenge. In the end, the team finished on the wrong side of a 4-1 scoreline.
In a great all-round team performance, Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies reversed a two goal half time deficit to draw 2-2 at Waikato Division 1 leaders, Waikato Unicol.
Matamata began slowly, letting in two goals that were a bit on the soft side, but then had much of the run of play. Opportunities were created but Unicol’s goalie worked well to keep a clean sheet heading into the break.
The second half mission for Matamata was to keep pushing and keep the pressure on. Efforts on goal came and went, but it wasn’t until the 75th minute that Matamata was handed, literally, the chance to get back in the game. Unicol handled in the box, allowing Mary Ontiveros to step up and slot home from the spot.
The Swifts sensed they could take something from the game, upped the ante further and, seven minutes from the end, got their reward. Maggie Leaver took a chance from 25 yards, hitting a shot that sailed over the keeper and in at the far post for a deserved equaliser against the league’s top team.
The result keeps Matamata in second spot on the Division 1 standings, two points behind a Unicol side who, in this match, dropped points for the first time this season.
The Good Merchant Players of the Day were Blair Griffiths (Comag Matamata Swifts), Paul Weymouth (Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves), while the whole Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies team picked up Sunday’s accolade.