Papamoa 2-4 Waikato Stud Matamata Swifts
Waikato Stud Matamata Swifts opened their 2016 WaiBOP Premiership campaign with a 4-2 win at Papamoa thanks to a performance that was in parts solid, enterprising and, when required, gritty.
Goals, which have been in short supply for the Swifts during the last two seasons, were plentiful in this match. Joe Tompsett opened his account for the season on the quarter hour mark, before the hosts rattled Matamata with an equaliser midway through the half. Thankfully, that was about as close as Papamoa got all day.
The game was effectively won for the Swifts in the lead up to half time. Midfielder, Sam Masterson, restored Matamata’s lead in the 42nd minute with a fine strike, before Tompsett rattled home his second goal a minute later to make it 3-1.
Scott Parsonage slotted Matamata’s fourth goal, from the penalty spot, nine minutes into the second half to all but guarantee the Swifts would bring a priceless three points back home with them. Papamoa scored what was ultimately a consolation goal with 20 minutes remaining but Matamata was able to run the clock down to secure victory.
What will have been especially pleasing for head coach, Paul Richardson, is that this result was achieved with a team missing a number of regular players. Injuries, sickness and missed transfer deadlines played havoc with team selection, but the Swifts have enough depth now to put together a side that is competitive at this level.
Interestingly, this was also the Swifts’ first opening day win since 2009, the season they last won what is now the WaiBOP Premiership. A positive omen, perhaps?
West Hamilton 2-0 Richardson Racing Stables Swifts reserves
The Richardson Racing Stables Swifts reserves performed well in their 2016 opener at promotion hopefuls, West Hamilton, but ended up on the wrong side of the scoreline after conceding a couple of second half goals.
The reserves held their powerful opponents during a scoreless first half, but West Hamilton was just a little bit stronger when the game was in the balance. Josh Oed hit the upright before the hosts scored their opener, while the match clinching second goal came with only two minutes remaining.
Northern United 8-1 Matamata Swifts ‘A’
Waikato Division A
The Swifts ‘A’ team began their season with probably their toughest game of the season, away to title favourites Northern United. The hosts scored four goals in each half against a Swifts ‘A’ side that is essentially new and still figuring each other out. Jamie Cox scored midway through the second half.
‘A’ team coach, Ronan Costello, wasn’t too disappointed with the result. “We met a far superior team. Everyone gave 100% today, which was all that was asked for. Special mention to Jamie Cox, back from a year out of the game to score our only goal.”
Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies 2-4 Melville United
WaiBOP Women’s Division
In the only match played at the Matamata Domain over the weekend, the Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies have lost a tough season opener to Hamilton’s Melville United.
The ladies started well, with 2015 top scorer Annemieke Verstraten, poking the ball home to give Matamata an early lead. But it wasn’t to last long as the strong, motivated, well organised visitors struck back with three goals before half time.
Melville extended their lead in the second half with a goal from distance, but Verstraten knocked her second into an open goal after robbing the visiting keeper to set up the possibility of a strong finish. Matamata forced a series of late corners and free kicks but couldn’t find any more goals. The visitors also created plenty of further opportunities throughout the match.
Patrice Adamson worked hard in midfield to keep the Matamata ship steaming forward, with the host of new players in the side grew into the game as it went on.
In the end this was a promising performance from Matamata, with a lot to like, against what will probably turn out to be one of the league’s stronger sides.
Youth & Juniors: The Swifts Under-13s, Junior 8th to Open Grade teams and Mini-Kickers begin their season on May 7 & 8.