Matamata Swifts have navigated the first hurdle of New Zealand sport’s oldest knock-out cup competition, the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup, after a thrilling 5-4 extra time victory over Auckland-based side, Internationale FC.
The Swifts’ attacking prowess and defensive frailties were on show again, but this was a match the home team should have comfortably wrapped up in regulation time. That they didn’t meant the rowdy local crowd got a good afternoon’s entertainment.
Matamata struck twice in the opening 15 minutes, through first an own goal then a Scott Parsonage drive, and appeared on the way to a comfortable victory. But their experienced opponents hit back from set-pieces to see the game level at the break.
The woodwork twice came to Internationale’s rescue, from a first half Chris Walker effort then a second half Dayne Willemsen hit, but they threw the tie upside down when they hit the front with 20 minutes remaining. Matamata responded almost immediately, appearing to scramble the ball over the line, but the goal wasn’t awarded and the game looked like it could slip away.
But it didn’t. Midfielder, Sam Masterson, drove home the leveler with a minute left on the clock, before both Willemsen and Jamie Baxter were denied a winner in added time.
Walker put Matamata back in front five minutes into extra time, tapping home a Radge Avergonzado cross, before Avergonzado, on his first team debut, tucked home the fifth right on half time of extra time.
Internationale grabbed one back midway through the second period of extra time, before Willemsen hit the cross bar with a thunderbolt. The Swifts managed to see the game out and will now wait to see who they draw in the next round.
Richardson Racing Stables Swifts reserves completed their first win of their WaiBOP Championship campaign, 4-1 over Tauranga’s Old Blues. A first half double strike from Ramandeep Singh, either side of Bruno Dos Santos’ first senior goal, had the reserves leading comfortable at the break. Radge Avergonzado wrapped the game up with his first goal of the season in the final ten minutes.
The result, which possibly could have been by an even larger margin, was a good return for an excellent attacking performance.
The Swifts A team tasted defeat for the first time this season, losing 2-1 to Te Aroha in a feisty local derby. The scores were level at one apiece at the break, after Rob Cox scored to cancel out the visitor’s early lead. Te Aroha struck the decisive blow in the second half of a match that could have gone either way.
On Sunday the Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies lost 5-2 at one of the title favourites, Cambridge. The hosts took the lead early before Catrina Morris equalised with a superb strike. The talented Cambridge side stretched their lead to 3-1 at half time, before Patrice Morrison hit back in the second half to make the game interesting.
Cambridge scored twice late to blow the scoreline out, but Matamata’s improving performances show they are now comfortable at this level.