Comag Matamata Swifts have rebounded from last weekend’s horror show with an important 1-0 victory at Tauranga City on Saturday.
Pete Shannon smuggled home a late corner with his head to snatch all three points from a game that could have gone either way. After suffering a big defeat last Saturday, then losing more players to injury, the victory was a huge tonic for a side playing its fourth consecutive game away from home.
The Swifts added to their squad during the week and the extra experience helped steady the ship. While there were still a few wobbles, the Swifts were able to ride out the Tauranga threat and had enough in the tank to complete the job.
Andrew Gibbs was again good in goal for the Swifts, while Nathan Farey and Phil Fletcher, in their first games of 2021, stiffened up a back four that secured an important clean sheet. Reagen Powell did well in an unfamiliar wide midfield role while Sam Masterson, who’s slowly working his way back to full fitness, showed glimpses of what he’ll be able to offer in midfield. Ellis Breadmore, another of the Swifts debutants, provided a solid outlet up front.
In other games, Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves returned to Gower Park in Hamilton for the second week running, but they couldn’t repeat last Saturday’s result. The mostly youthful reserves competed well throughout, but they couldn’t quite match it with their more experienced opponents, going down 3-0 after not offering as much in attack as they’d have liked.
Fez Kebab Swifts 3rds had an early kick-off in Huntly but suffered a similar fate. Jamie Cox’s regulation goal wasn’t enough to stem the blue tide as Huntly ran out 3-1 winners.
The Good Merchant Players of the Day were Ellis Breadmore (Comag Matamata Swifts), Joel Harris (Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves) and Matt Aberhart (Fez Kebab Swifts 3rds).
This coming weekend it’s all about the various cup competitions and, as an added bonus, the Matamata Domain sees its’ first action of the season. The appalling state of the Domain surface has required all Matamata’s teams to begin their seasons with a string of away games, but that all changes over the long weekend. Challenge Matamata Ladies kick things off on Sunday with an 11am Cup game against Kawerau, while the Swifts begin their 2021 Chatham Cup campaign on Monday when they host HNK Auckland Croatia FC. Kick-off is at 2pm. The reserves and 3rds are both away from home (again) on Saturday.