Comag Matamata Swifts suffered a heavy defeat along with more injury misery on a difficult Saturday afternoon at Waikato Unicol. The Swifts lost captain, Bjorn Vossen, to an ankle ligament injury on the half hour and his presence in central defence was severely missed as Unicol went on to rattle up eight goals without reply against an overexposed visiting outfit.

Up until Vossen’s injury Matamata had been holding their own against one of the Premiership’s title favourites. Unicol, probably the best footballing team in the league, were comfortable in possession and moved the ball crisply but the Swifts, by and large, marshalled themselves well. Notwithstanding the concession of one early goal, Matamata seemed to be holding their own.

Unfortunately three goals in five minutes either side of half time ended the game as a contest. The tiring Swifts saw four more go in during the final 20 minutes to provide a humbling score line.

Unicol, for their part, were very good with the ball and clinical in front of goal, but the young Swifts defenders will believe they should have done a lot better in limiting their opponents’ openings.

In other games this weekend, Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies and Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves both opened their 2021 campaigns with victories, while Fez Kebab Swifts 3rds were involved in a high scoring draw.

Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies ground out a 1-0 Waikato Division 1 victory at West Hamilton courtesy of a Stacy McFarlane goal. The Ladies, 2020 Division 1 runners-up, picked up as they left off with a solid defensive showing and a gratifying clean sheet.

In the recent past, West Hamilton has been one of the strongest teams in the league, so this could be an important result in the context of the season ahead.

A 3-2 win at St Paul’s Corinthians handed new reserve team coach, Josh Couchman, victory in his first match in charge. Goals from Harry Conner, Ben Johnson and Franco Catucci edged the team home against decent opposition.

Morrinsville was the scene for the 3rd team’s back and forth 3-3 draw, where the experienced trio of Jamie Cox, Paul Weymouth and Max Hill scored the goals.

The Good Merchant Players of the Day this weekend were: Andrew Gibbs (Swifts), Alisha Dare (Ladies), Sam Hills (Reserves), Jamie Cox (3rds).