Here’s our summary of a rain-affected weekend for our senior teams on a weekend when most football in the Waikato was postponed. In the Bay of Plenty, however, it all went ahead.
Tauranga City United 2-5 Waikato Stud Matamata Swifts
Waikato Stud Matamata Swifts put in a rampant second half performance at Mt Maunganui’s Links Ave to over-power Tauranga City United and move the side into the top three of the WaiBOP Premiership.
The result was built around a first senior hat trick from ‘veteran’ Jamie Baxter, with youngsters Sam Masterson and Logan Allen also helping themselves to goals. On a bleak afternoon, the Swifts’ relentless attacking kept the few travelling fans warm.
Baxter opened the scoring from a deflected free kick just after the half hour mark, but Tauranga brought themselves level right on half time when the Swifts failed to deal with a corner. The hosts then pushed in front not long after the break.
The Swifts’ reply was, well, swift, with Baxter knocking home another free kick just over ten minutes after the restart before Masterson tapped home from close range to regain the lead.
Baxter completed his hat trick with fifteen minutes remaining before Allen, who had been on the field for less than ten minutes, completed the rout by scoring his first goal for the first team with five minutes left.
This was an important win for Matamata as it lifted the team to third, albeit after a weather impacted round of games. The contrast with this time last season couldn’t be more stark. The youngsters continue to improve and contribute to the side’s performances, while the experienced players add a nice foil to their exuberance.
Old Blues reserves 2-0 Matamata Swifts reserves
The Swifts reserves tasted defeat for the first time this season, although it wasn’t for the lack of effort and goal scoring opportunities. Ultimately, the young reserves were undone by a more experienced, and physical, opponent presenting them with a fine lesson on football at this level.
The reserves started brightly and should have been ahead early on but Hugh Budge hit the woodwork then Chris Monteith nodded just wide from a corner.
Unfortunately the reserves’ good football went unrewarded, and when the hosts struck twice in quick succession midway through the half the now familiar two goal half time deficit was presented to them for the third week running.
There was to be no stirring comeback, at least on the score sheet, this week although the reserves certainly gave it a good go. Shaun Richardson and Ignacio Trias were both denied twice as the team did their best to overcome the conditions and a largely unprotected physical battering offered up by their opponents.
With such a young team, there will be ups and downs, particularly as the players develop. While this result was a bit of a down, the coaching staff were still delighted with the attitude and intent shown by the players.
Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies’ trip to Ngaruawahia was called off due to the weather.