Matamata Swifts’ Soccer Shop WaiBOP Premiership match against Tauranga Boys’ College FC was their season in microcosm. The visitors struck from a corner four and a half minutes into added time to level the match at 1-1 on an afternoon Matamata had created probably the most clear cut chances yet in what is turning out to be the most frustrating of seasons.
Tauranga, as expected, were lively and energetic but once the Swifts, who were again forced to make a host of changes due to injury and illness, settled into their work they seemed the most likely team to score. In the first half alone Matamata hit three close range shots over the bar, missed a penalty, hit the woodwork twice and had a goal ruled out for off-side by the referee, not his assistant.
Not to be out done, the Swifts’ second half effort was equally as profligate but at least they struck the goal that should have been enough to secure all three points. In between hitting the woodwork again, missing two one-on-ones and having another goal ruled out for off-side, Nicolas San Martan, on debut, struck from close range to give the Swifts a well overdue lead.
But this is a season in which Matamata has made a habit of drawing games. After firing several second half warning shots, including one superb header that was well saved by Swifts keeper Seamus Casey, a lack of concentration on the final play of the game, a defensive corner, let Tauranga in for the equaliser.