The Stanley Joinery Matamata Swifts found themselves in a similar situation to last year, with a new coach (Chris Powell) and new faces aplenty leading to the fielding of a young squad this season. Player movement and injuries have led to a disruptive pre-season but the side were still hopeful of gaining points against a Tauranga Boys side who had also lost several senior players in the off-season.
However, as with last year, early jitters were plain to see and some rusty touches and poor passing had the Swifts putting plenty of pressure on themselves as the small field meant any errors were quickly magnified. It wasn’t a great surprise, therefore, to see Matamata concede early, though it wasn’t without an ounce of controversy. With the ball given away by the Swifts, a hopeful ball bounced high into the box. Going up to take the ball, the Matamata keeper dropped the ball under pressure and, with no call forthcoming, the ball was slotted into an empty net.
The Swifts did respond well to this early setback and were able to put some pressure back onto the hosts. Regularly finding space in behind the Tauranga Boys defence, despite the compact field, Matamata looked likely to level before the half. Jamie Baxter, playing in a new central midfield role, flashed a free kick wide while both Baxter and Peter McCoskrie delivered dangerous crosses as they worked their way in across the by-line. And it was from one of these crosses that the Swifts did indeed draw level. Lawrence Clothier put pressure on at the back post but it was a Tauranga Boys foot which had the final touch.
Having gone into the half at 1-1, the Swifts came out with some new-found purpose. Plenty of chances were to be had in the second half and it seemed only a matter of time before they were to take the lead. McCoskrie and new captain Gary Dobson both pushed chances wide while Ben Watson, a half-time substitute after a late return to the side, was unlucky in hitting the post.
Injuries, however, forced changes to both personnel and player positions. Bjorn Vossen, returning to the club this year, and Dobson were forced off the field and the Swifts side as a whole appeared to struggle with the rejigged line-up, something that will have to be quickly remedied. With Tauranga Boys beginning to push further and further forward the visitors found themselves under increasing pressure. And, in a heartbreaking play, a simple through-ball saw the defence cut open, and the one-on-one finish, virtually the last play of the day, left Matamata to return home with nothing for their travels.
Significant improvement is required as there will be tougher opposition to come. With no after-match function held at the College, no man-of-the-match was awarded.
Swifts XI: Jonathan Crook; Dwayne Signal, Paul Richardson, Bjorn Vossen (Will Judson 72m), Sam Masterson; Lawrence Clothier (Ben Watson 46m), Callum Barr, Scott Parsonage, Jamie Baxter, Gary Dobson (Chris Powell 74m); Peter McCoskrie. Sub (not used): Shaun Richardson.
|April 5, 2014||2:45 pm||Federation League Division 1||2014|
|452 Devonport Road, Tauranga South, Tauranga 3112, New Zealand|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|
|Tauranga BC FC||1||1||2|
Tauranga BC FC
|Position||Goals||Assists||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|#||Player||Position||Goals||Assists||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|2||Gary Dobson 6||Defender||0||0||0||0|
|6||Chris Powell 2||Defender||0||0||0||0|
|11||Ben Watson 16||Forward||0||0||0||0|
|16||Lawrence Clothier 11||Midfielder||0||0||0||0|
|15||Will Judson 20||Defender||0||0||0||0|
|20||Bjorn Vossen 15||Forward||0||0||0||0|