Comag Matamata Swifts completed a Soccer Shop WaiBOP Premiership double over Huntly Thistle on Saturday, while Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies beat Claudelands Rovers on Sunday to keep up their Waikato Division 1 title challenge.
All the goals came in the first half on Saturday, as the Swifts went behind from the penalty spot early on before scoring twice to win 2-1. After the early set-back, Matamata clawed themselves level just before the half hour when Pete Shannon nodded home an Anton Ganas cross.
There was a long delay not long before the break following a head clash that saw a player from each side forced out of the game. Upon resumption, and two minutes into added time, Matamata was awarded a penalty of their own. Captain, Bjorn Vossen, powered it home to give the Swifts the lead.
The second half was a battle of attrition, as the appalling Domain surface and scrappy opponents helped keep the game close. Matamata survived a late scare when a miss-hit cross rebounded away off Kyle van Waveren’s upright, but it was a piece of luck the Swifts deserved as they had the better of the game. Anything but a home victory would have been a harsh outcome.
In the early game, Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves went down 5-2 to Melville United in another Waikato Division 1 match loaded with goal scoring chances. The game was close for a while, with both Ezequiel Chaves and Hayri Cihan scoring for the reserves, who also missed from the penalty spot. The visitors, however, had just a little bit more in the tank to run out comfortable winners.
Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies ground out a 3-2 win at Claudelands Rovers to keep their Waikato Women’s Division 1 title charge going with two matches remaining.
Maggie Leaver scored a hat trick for the ladies to move her personal tally for the season into double figures. Patrice Morrison, with some great link-up play, and April Donnelly, at the back, were excellent in another solid team performance against difficult opponents. Chrissy Goodin’s underrated experience and knack of being in the right place at the right time down the left were influential in gaining the side another superb result.
In what’s become something of a recent theme the ladies were twice denied the opportunity to increase their victory margin from the penalty spot when clear hand balls went unnoticed. Thankfully the team had enough about them to see off Rovers and maintain joint top spot in Division 1.
The Good Merchant Players of the Day at the weekend were Jamie Baxter and Pete Shannon (Comag Matamata Swifts), Maggie Leaver and Chrissy Goodin (Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies), and Mike Hills (Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves).