Comag Matamata Swifts have picked up their second victory in three games, a 1-0 win at Waikato Unicol, to continue their solid start to the 2019 Soccer Shop WaiBOP Premiership season.
With Unicol having played a game more than Matamata, and won them all, victory for the Swifts was vital if they were to keep in touch at the top of the table. Radge Avergonzado’s strike five minutes before half time, his second of the season and one of Matamata’s few openings in the match, proved to be the difference between two evenly matched sides.
The Swifts rode their luck at times, but were solid in defence again against a side that entered the match with attacking threats across the park. Matamata’s assured defending, which is something that hasn’t been a feature of their play for a number of years, has been a strength in gaining seven points from their opening three games. Further forward, the energy is promising and the cutting edge will soon arrive for a side that is quickly coming together after a disjointed pre-season.
Against Unicol, the effectiveness of Matamata’s performance led to an unseemly level of tetchiness from opponents they have now beaten in four consecutive Premiership matches.
The early game between the clubs’ two reserve sides finished with the same score line but different winners. In general, the Waharoa Transport Swifts reserves’ early season performances have deserved more, but they again suffered the narrowest of defeats when Unicol reserves, one of The Soccer Shop WaiBOP Championship’s top sides, scored late to take all the points from a 1-0 victory. Prior to that, Harry Conner hit the cross bar for Matamata, while Richard Armstrong and Anton Ganas were solid through the middle.
Camel Kebab Swifts 3rds put in their soundest, most cohesive performance of the season so far but it wasn’t enough to stop them falling to a 3-1 defeat to Northern United in their first home game of 2019. Hayri Cihan scored Matamata’s goal – from the penalty spot – and the team was better across the park than they had been in their opening two encounters. Rob Cox and Shaun Gamble were solid for the 3rds as they grew into the game against what was the strongest team they’d played so far this season.