Comag Matamata Swifts put in one of their strongest 45 minutes of the season on Saturday, which was enough to defeat current Loaded WaiBOP Premiership leaders Tauranga Boys’ 3-1 at the Domain.
The visitors have been one of the most impressive teams this season, but were stung early when Chris Walker shut down a Tauranga defender and squared for Brayden Lissington who hammered home his fifth goal in four games.
Tauranga looked good in possession and were given several attacking set-pieces, as well as winning a number of corners. The Swifts defence dealt well with everything that came at them, however, which gave young debutant keeper Karam Singh a relatively comfortable introduction to first team football.
Walker was back in the action just before the half hour when he was brought down in the box and a penalty awarded, which Jamie Baxter smacked home to double Matamata’s lead. Only a few minutes later the goal of the game saw Matamata break quickly, with Lissington feeding Walker who lifted the ball home to gain a tangible reward for an excellent first half performance.
The dynamic of the game changed six minutes into the second half when the visitors were given a huge advantage after a nonsense red card saw the Swifts reduced to ten men. As a result, Matamata was forced to dig in and the visitors gained more possession, which they capitalised on almost immediately to grab a goal back from a neat angled finish.
But that’s all they could muster. They went close again a couple of times, but the Swifts held their shape well throughout the remainder of the match to secure a deserved victory.
On Sunday, the Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies side progressed to the Waikato Plate final after defeating Te Aroha on penalties following a 2-2 draw.
The Ladies found themselves two goals behind, before mounting a comeback. Goals from Annemieke Verstraten and Kerrie Cox ensured Matamata didn’t suffer an upset defeat, even though they had most of the possession and were a little unlucky not to win in regulation time. Goals in the shoot-out from Verstraten, Mary Ontiveros and April Donnelly, with keeper Matty Turlington making two good saves, ensured the team got home by a comfortable 3-1 margin.
Camel Kebab Matamata 3rds completed their season with a 5-2 friendly loss in Hamilton.