The Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies side travelled to Melville for a top of the table clash which saw 2 sides with identical records both looking to take the advantage in the last game of the first half of the season. The Swifts were on top of the table thanks to a superior goal difference but this counts for little in a game like this.
The tightness of the teams was apparent early on. Melville appeared to edge the early stages however failed to capitalise on their early chances, goalkeeper Ana Paterson looking confident in her first season between the goalposts. The Swifts soon worked themselves in to the half and began to dominate possession, with Melville forced to resort to the through ball on the counter attack.
Chances were coming for the Swifts, but it was a moment of brilliance that opened the scoring. Rebecca Stewart, winning the ball from centre back surged forward, leaving a trail of the Melville team in her wake as she went past 5 players. Coming to the last defender, and with both strikers running beside her, she used them as a decoy, putting herself one on one with the keeper. Making no mistake, she slotted the ball into the top corner to give the Swifts the lead.
Matamata were quickly on attack again and soon found themselves 2 up. The second may not have been as pretty as the first, but it counts the same in the scorebook. From the corner, the ball skidded off the slippery surface and bounced into the hand of an unfortunate Melville defender. Hailey Maddren made no mistake in putting away the penalty in her last match before heading overseas.
The second half was largely about ensuring solidity in the defence. Melville pushed hard in search of a goal and spent significant times on attack without creating too many clear cut opportunities from open play. Their corners were more dangerous, however, but the scrambling defence was effect from Matamata. Despite the odd heart in mouth moment, the defence held firm. At the other end of the park the Swifts did have the clearer opportunities but failed to find the goal which would have sealed the match.
It was not to matter, however, and, with other matches going their way, the Swifts find themselves with a 3 point advantage at the top of the table. With a series of away matches now to follow it will be all about hard work and concentration if the Swifts want to hold that spot as everyone will be gunning to knock them off their perch. Player of the day went to Stewart.