Captain, Bjorn Vossen, struck a goal in each half to secure Comag Matamata Swifts a bruising 2-0 victory over Ngaruawahia United at the Domain on Saturday.
The visitors, among the favourites for the 2020 WaiBOP Premiership title, were looking to rebound from defeat last time out, but were stunned as early as the 4th minute when Vossen gave the locals the lead.
A poor Domain playing surface forced both sides to modify their usual playing styles, leading to an open, competitive and niggly encounter, but one with few genuine chances.
The Swifts back four, marshalled superbly by Campbell Higgens, were secure most of the time and desperate when they needed to be, while Anton Ganas, Reuben Wigelsworth, and Vossen in midfield threatened going forward and shut down their opposite numbers throughout.
The visitors were reduced to ten men with more than twenty minutes remaining. When Ganas was tripped in the Ngaruawahia box with just over ten minutes left, Vossen was charged with securing the points from the spot. Ex-Swifts keeper, Patrick Steele, guessed correctly but Vossen’s shot was powerful enough to ruffle the back of the net and give the Swifts an important three points.
Special mention should go to stand-in Swifts keeper, Michael Candy. He hadn’t touched a football since 2019, and then as a centre-half, but was thrust in nets as cover for the suspended Kyle van Waveren and kept a deserved clean sheet.
In Saturday’s early game, Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves went down 2-1 to West Hamilton United. The team put in a good showing and created a host of opportunities, but only had a single Troy Rosser goal to show for their efforts.
Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies dropped points for the first time this season after being held to a 1-1 draw by Northern United. It was a game of two halves for Matamata, starting slowly before putting in a much improved second half showing. Jen Waterhouse’s goal ten minutes from the end ensured the points were at least shared.
Matamata stay in second in Waikato Women’s Division 1, but dropped two points behind leaders Unicol, who they play in Hamilton next weekend.
The Good Merchant players of the match this weekend were Campbell Higgins (Comag Matamata Swifts), Ethan Davis (Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves), and Laura Fisher (Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies).