An eventful weekend’s football, in many senses, saw Matamata Swifts’ senior teams record one victory and two defeats in three trips to Hamilton.
Comag Matamata Swifts suffered their first Soccer Shop WaiBOP Premiership reverse of 2020, going down 2-0 at Waikato Unicol after playing more than an hour with ten men.
The slippery conditions made football challenging. The match was a largely even contest but turned on the half hour when Matamata goalie, Kyle van Waveren, was deemed to have deliberately handled the ball out side the box and was shown red.
Reuben Wiglesworth drew the short straw and went in goal for the remainder of the match, but Unicol scored soon after then doubled their lead almost immediately after the break. A comeback, in such circumstances, proved too difficult.
While this result was a bit of a momentum staller, there were still positive signs. The centre-half pairing of Blair Griffiths and Campbell Higgins is growing stronger by the week, while the Swifts were able to introduce several new faces from the bench.
On Friday evening, Waharoa Transport Matamata Reserves ended an entertaining game against a good Melville United side on the wrong end of a 5-2 score line. Finishing the game with nine players after a couple of overly harsh red cards didn’t exactly help the cause, but goals from Max Hill and Ugur Kaplan ensured the reserves remained competitive.
It was better news on Sunday as Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies returned from Hamilton following their third Waikato Women’s Division 1 match in three games.
A later than usual kick-off made things a little challenging, but the Swifts Ladies dug in to secure a 2-1 victory at Claudelands Rovers that kept them joint top in the league.
All the goals were scored after half time as the game opened up. Annemieke Verstraten proved to be the match winner with two well taken goals. Matamata was also forced to dig in and, at times, defend strongly in typically wet and cold conditions.
Matamata’s desperation was typified by player of the match Alisha Dare at one point stretching full length to clear the ball off the line, which helped preserve the victory.