Only two Swifts sides were in action over the long weekend and both pulled off meritorious results.
Auckland Wanderers 1-2 Waikato Stud Matamata Swifts
ASB Chatham Cup – qualifying round
Waikato Stud Matamata Swifts have progressed out of the qualifying round of the 2015 ASB Chatham Cup, New Zealand’s nationwide knock-out cup competition, after an extra time victory over Auckland opposition. This Sunday excursion was something of a trip into the unknown for the Swifts, as they knew little about their opponents and, after a last minute venue change to Bill McKinley Park’s artificial turf, were confronted with a surface most would not have played on before.
This was compounded by a number of forced personnel and positional changes, which led to a pretty rough opening half hour or so for the Swifts as they struggled to adapt. The visitors went close to taking the lead during the opening exchanges, before grabbing a deserved goal in the 11th minute when an unmarked attacker was given the run of the Swifts 18 yard box.
With a gale at their back the Wanderers forced most of the play during the first half but Sunday League quality finishing from the home side meant Swifts keeper, Jordan Wise, was rarely called on to make anything more than a regulation save. He had to be sharp on one occasion, however, when diving at the feet of an advancing attacker.
The Wanderers visibly tired as half time neared, allowing the Swifts several opportunities to break out and attack their goal. Ronan Costello found himself on the end of one of these raids and knocked home the equaliser only a couple of minutes before the break.
The second half settled into a pattern of the Wanderers getting caught off side and the Swifts over hitting passes, which meant not too much of any great consequence took place. The nearest either side came to scoring was when the trusty left boot of Matamata’s Jamie Baxter smashed a quick free kick into the Wanderers’ upright.
Neither side really looked capable of a further 30 minutes, but that was necessary as the match finished level at one apiece. The Swifts made most of the running during extra time and went ahead in the 98th minute when substitute, Logan Allen, finished off a neat counter attack. The Swifts held on from there, despite a nervous final period when the Wanderers threw everything at them.
Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies 0-0 Claudelands Rovers
Waikato Ladies Division B
Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies continued their unbeaten start to the 2015 season after holding Claudelands Rovers, one of the league’s more favoured teams, to a draw at the Domain.
Both the Swifts and Rovers had scored comfortable opening day victories, with Rovers belting home five goals without reply, so the Matamata coaching staff were aware this would be a great test for their young side. The Ladies stood up well, however, and their performance proved they’ll be more than competitive at this season’s higher level.
Despite lacking a goal the match wasn’t short of goal mouth action, particularly during the early stages. The Swifts Ladies threatened on several occasions while Ana Paterson in the Matamata goal proved her worth as a shot stopper. The clean sheet was testament to her efforts, along with that of the back four.
The Swifts reserves had the weekend off.