Two Swifts sides were in action this weekend as the WaiBOP Premiership and WaiBOP Championship got underway for 2015. The Swifts hosted Cambridge and Cambridge reserves in a derby day double-header at the Domain.
Waikato Stud Matamata Swifts 0-4 Cambridge
The Waikato Stud Matamata Swifts made the worst conceivable start against the Premiership favourites, gifting the visitors a two goal lead inside ten minutes. The Swifts made a couple of major defensive errors under little pressure that led directly to clinically taken goals. That start made what was initially a difficult job a nigh on impossible one for a shell-shocked Swifts outfit.
The visitors went three up on 20 minutes when ex-Swift, Glen Carmichael, was given too much time in the Swifts box. His effort was tipped onto the cross bar by Matt Aberhart, a late call-up in goal after regular keeper Jordan Wise cried off with illness, but the rebound was bundled home to effectively end the match as a contest.
After eventually sorting out their defensive deficiencies the Swifts came more into the game and they began the second half a different side. Both Jamie Baxter and Dwayne Signal had excellent chances to reduce the deficit, while Cambridge was reduced to sporadic raids forward.
Somewhat cruelly, the visitors were handed a fourth goal with just over 20 minutes remaining when the Swifts put through their own net.
While the result was a disappointing one, the Swifts coaching staff will have seen enough from their players to work with as the season advances. Lesson number one will be to not make it easy for good sides to put you away. With four players on debut at this level, and over half the squad still in their teens, this side is a work in progress. Jackson Allen and Ronan Costello, two of the debutants, were solid for the Swifts, as was midfielder Dwayne Signal.
Swifts Reserves 0-0 Cambridge Reserves
The Swifts reserves made a good fist of their first encounter at this level taking a point from an even contest against a solid Cambridge side. Despite the scoreline, chances were far from at a premium as both sides creating a host of goal scoring opportunities in an open contest.
The visitors started slightly stronger while the Swifts reserves had several good chances in the second half to break the deadlock. Matt Monteith slid a Callum Barr cross narrowly wide not long after half time, while Luis John lobbed the stranded Cambridge keeper late on only to see the ball fall agonisingly wide of the upright.
Another young squad, the Swifts reserves contained eight teenagers in their squad, which is further illustration of the club’s focus on youth this season. Logan Allen looked lively up-front while John was a creative presence in midfield. The experience of Rob Cox and Jonathan Crook through the middle lent a calming presence to the side’s overall youthful exuberance.