It was a weekend of contrasting fortunes for Matamata Swifts’ senior teams as Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies picked up another victory on Sunday, while all three men’s teams suffered defeat the day before.
Comag Matamata Swifts took a pragmatic approach to their Chatham Cup 1st round match at West Hamilton United. Carrying a squad beset with varying levels of injury, the coaching staff rested a number of regulars and drafted in several players from the reserves. This move had the obvious effect of dulling the team’s performance, as players unfamiliar with each other took to time to work themselves into the game.
The home team scored a goal in each half to secure a deserved 2-0 victory and advance to the next round of the cup, a national competition open to every club in the country. Ben Johnson and Ethan Davis made their first start for the club, while Jordan Griffiths, Finn Challis and Hayri Cihan all had decent minutes off the bench. Despite their performance, the Swifts still had a couple of opportunities cleared off their opponent’s line.
Hopefully Saturday’s selection move will bear fruit in the coming weeks, with a fresher squad taking the field in the important WaiBOP Premiership games to come.
Unfortunately, the knock on effect meant a shake up to the Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves side who took on Waikato Division 1 leaders, Claudelands Rovers, at Matamata College. The visitors ran out 3-0 winners as an even younger than usual reserve team battled to combat Rovers’ experience. On the plus side, more senior minutes were on offer for more of Matamata’s younger footballers, as they backed up from their morning game for the college.
Fez Kebab Swifts 3rds also suffered defeat, 6-0 at the hands of Cambridge in their Waikato Division 4 match. Matamata’s mixture of extreme experience and extreme youth wasn’t enough to combat the visitor’s cutting edge. Despite the score line, Dan Ellis had a solid game in goal, while Scott Hudson chipped in well in midfield.
Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies kept their Waikato Division 1 title challenge solidly on track with a 2-0 victory at Claudelands Rovers. Second half strikes from Maddison Stewart and Mary Ontiveros were enough to get Matamata home in a game they should probably have won more comfortably.
It’s at the defensive end of the field, however, where the Swifts Ladies have been excelling in 2021. An experienced defensive line and some solid goalkeeping have seen the team put together a string of clean sheets that see them sitting three points clear at the top of the table after their opening games.