Comag Matamata Swifts and Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies were both defeated at home over the weekend while, on the road, Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves picked up a handy win and Fez Kebab Swifts 3rds went down.
Saturday’s WaiBOP Premiership match at the Domain looked daunting enough as the Swifts hosted an undefeated Ngaruawahia United side that had just defeated a National League club in their most recent Chatham Cup game. Added to that, Matamata was, as has often been the case recently, missing players due to injury, suspension and absence so the players could have been forgiven for thinking they were properly up against it.
But a positive approach and a solid defensive effort helped frustrate the visitors and kept the Swifts in the contest. Ngaruawahia squeezed one goal home during the first half to take a lead into the break. They doubled their tally on the hour mark through a goal that should have been avoided to complete the final 2-0 score line, but the threadbare Swifts squad put up the sort of fight that will be needed in the weeks ahead.
Jamie Baxter led the side well, while Ellis Breadmore put in nearly a full ninety minutes on his return from injury.
The Swifts Reserves rebounded from last week’s disappointing cup exit with a solid and well deserved 3-1 win at West Hamilton United, gaining three points that moved them into the top four of Waikato Division 1. Ben Johnson, the Reserves’ big man up front, helped himself to a match-winning double while Mike Smith also scored to help secure the win.
This season’s reserve side is a young squad that is improving with each match. The experience of players like Smith and also Mike Hills, however, are invaluable in keeping the side moving forward and ensuring the performance levels stay relatively consistent.
Fez Kebab Swifts 3rds lost 4-1 in the early game at neighbours, Putaruru. Finn Challis scored the side’s solitary goal.
It was more frustration on Sunday, as the Swifts Ladies lost 1-0 at home to West Hamilton United in what, ultimately, turned out to be a match of two penalties. The visitors found the back of the net from their gift while Matamata could not quite do the same, hitting the upright from 12 yards.
In an even match in which neither side really deserved to lose, the crucial breaks just didn’t go Matamata’s way proving how fine the margins can be. Failure to gain any points from the match has put a dent in the Ladies’ Division 1 title hopes, but they’re not terminal just yet.
The Good Merchant Players of the Day this weekend were Jamie Baxter (Comag Matamata Swifts), Mike Hills (Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves), and Emilee Holmes (Challenge Matamata Ladies).