Comag Matamata Swifts and Challenge Matamata Ladies both came through stiff, but different, examinations at the weekend to each secure a valuable three points.
For the Swifts, it was a case of keeping their heads in the game for the full, frustrating 90 minutes against their visiting Claudelands Rovers opponents. They created chance after chance but a combination of resolute defending, wasteful finishing and a sloppy Domain surface combined to deny them until the closing stages.
Chris Walker struck the game’s only goal, to the immense relief of the Domain faithful, with five minutes remaining handing Matamata a 1-0 victory that was the least they deserved.
Local fans, however, were forced to sit through another afternoon of their team doing their best to confound all footballing logic. Matamata’s pacy front three failed to gel on a day they really should have been filling their boots, while captain, Jamie Baxter, could well have woken up on Sunday morning with a groin strain following the sheer volume of corners and set pieces he was forced to take.
The visitors all but handed Matamata the result when they missed an open goal, not long before Walker’s winner, from one of their few chances on the day.
All the goals came in the second half as Challenge Matamata Ladies beat Waikato Unicol 3-1 in the only Waikato Division 1 match played during a wet Sunday across the region.
Gemma Watson, Kerrie Cox and Laila Balzer helped themselves to the goals for Rob Cox’s hard working side, while Lisa Dunn was strong in goal against a strengthened visiting side.
The result snapped Matamata’s two match losing run and moved them to just a point behind the top two teams. The Division 1 title race will be one to watch as the season plays out.
In the only other game played this weekend, Fez Kebab Swifts 3rds were unluckily edged 3-2 against Unicol. Finn Challis grabbed a double to set the 3rds on course for a solid result, but the team couldn’t quite manage to pull it out of the fire. Rendong Xu, Harrison Taylor and Rob Cox stood out for the team.
Good Merchant Players of the Day were Andrew Gibbs (Comag Matamata Swifts), Lisa Dunn (Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies) and Harrison Taylor (Fez Kebab Swifts 3rds).