Comag Matamata Swifts suffered another single goal defeat on Saturday, but this time it was against opponents that were vastly superior to most of the teams they’ve played so far this season. Visitors Papamoa, under the stewardship of ex-Swifts coach Duncan Lowry, currently top the league and for good reason. They pay a nice brand of possession football that, coupled with a watertight defence, has seen them installed as favourites for the 2018 Loaded WaiBOP Premiership title.

Papamoa began the match well, monopolising possession and putting the Swifts under defensive pressure. Matamata grew into the game, however, with the front three of Dayne Willemsen, Kody Nowell and Chris Walker putting the visitors under a reasonable amount of pressure of their own. In fact, Matamata created three decent opportunities before Papamoa scored the game’s only goal on 37 minutes, which was bundled home after they had hit the upright.

The Swifts were limited to several shots from range during the second half while keeper, Kyle van Waveren, made three top saves to keep his team in the game.

In the end, Papamoa was just a bit stronger in key areas, but Matamata’s performance was closer to where it needs to be. With key players now back in the side after injury, and a couple more close to returning, signs are looking positive for improved results over what will be a long season.

In Saturday’s early game, Waharoa Transport Swifts reserves overturned a half time deficit, sprung out to a comfortable lead before eventually settling for a 4-4 draw against Kawerau Sports. New signing Mike Smith hit a debut goal during the first half but the visitors scored twice to lead at the break. Jayden Reeve, a Kawerau own goal and a Ronan Costello penalty helped the reserves to a two goal lead, but the aggressive visiting side hit back to claim a share of the points. The match was a good physical contest for the team. They were forced to stand up to some pretty rugged stuff from the visitors and, for the most part, came through the test well.

Matamata’s 3rd team continued their good run in the Waikato Sunday League, with their third win in three league matches coming from a 4-1 victory over the Maniacs. Matamata actually trailed at half time but the team turned it on after the break to score four unanswered goals. John Harris notched the team’s first hat trick of the season, while Chris Bedford smashed home from the spot to help the team to another solid victory.

Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies had the bye this weekend.