It was a case of two contrasting matches over two days at the Matamata Domain for Matamata Swifts top teams last weekend. On Sunday, Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies secured another clean sheet as the team kept pace at the top of Waikato Division 1, but on Saturday, Comag Matamata Swifts threw away a great opportunity for victory in a frustrating loss.
The Swifts Ladies have been grinding out results so far this season, with performances build on a rock solid defence and a string of clean sheets. In fact, in four games so far this season they have yet to concede a goal.
Sunday’s match against the visiting Northern United side, a 2-0 win after second half goals from captain Mary Ontiveros, followed the team’s 2021 template. A solid, but goalless, first half meant Northern were still in the game, but a captain’s brace, including one from the penalty spot, helped the Swifts ease home to another victory, which sees them level on points at the top of the table.
One bit of bad news for the ladies was the loss of Laura Fisher to a dislocated shoulder, the latest in a string of injuries suffered by Swifts’ senior players.
Comag Matamata Swifts’ match against Huntly began well, but ultimately ended in a frustrating and unnecessary 3-2 defeat. The Swifts should have been two up before Jamie Baxter netted from the penalty inside ten minutes. Another penalty soon after, was spurned, but Matamata’s relentless attacking and the visitors’ reckless defending should have led to the award of two further spot kicks. Two further gilt edged opportunities were also spurned.
Right on half time, Huntly levelled the scores with a superb long range goal, then hit the upright almost instantly. Two minutes into the second half, however, the visitors did take the lead, although this time the goal was not so superb, especially from a Swifts defending point of view.
Huntly were much better during the second half but, after Adam Harris volleyed home from a free kick to get Matamata level, the home side should have gone to take all three points. Indeed, the Swifts hit the woodwork and sent three over the top during the final quarter. Of course, that left Huntly with the chance to find a winner, which they did in added time. In many ways the goal summed up, in microcosm, the match from a Matamata perspective.
The youthful Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves side returned from their Friday night fixture at Melville United with a creditable 1-1 draw in the bank. Up against quality, experienced opposition who would have expected a comfortable win, Matamata Reserves went ahead through an Ethan Davis goal and almost hung on for a win, Melville finally getting their equaliser in the closing couple of minutes. Sam Hills was strong in goal and Joel Harris had another excellent defensive performance.
Fez Kebab Swifts 3rds played out an entertaining 7-2 defeat at Waihi. Finn Challis scored twice on his return to football after several weeks out injured.
Good Merchant Players of the Day were Mary Ontiveros (Ladies), Joel Harris (Reserves) and Aiden Miller (3rds).