Comag Matamata Swifts pushed themselves closer towards mid-table security on Saturday thanks to a comfortable 4-1 home win over Tauranga City. Chris Walker led the way with his second hat trick of the season, while popular centre back, Blair Griffiths grabbed his first of the season, midway through the second half, to help the cause.
After a cautious opening, Walker struck twice in no time around the 20 minute mark to seemingly set the Swifts on their way, but Tauranga’s instant response kept the game close at half time. The two second half goals, however, made things comfortable and gave Matamata their largest WaiBOP Premiership victory of the season.
In what has been another injury damaged season, the Swifts have put together a run of good recent performances, with wins against teams they should beat and strong battling performances against two of the Premiership’s leading sides. This, hopefully, sets things up for a good ending to a difficult campaign.
The other game played at the Domain on Saturday saw Fez Kebab Swifts 3rds christen the newly-marked number 2 field with a stirring 4-3 win over Huntly Thistle’s reserves. Finn Challis, with two goals, and Jamie Cox had the 3rds up by three at the break, before Huntly struck back. The visitors hauled themselves level during the second half, before Scott Hudson stepped up with Matamata’s winner. The 3rds were also indebted to goalie, Daniel Ellis, for a fine penalty save.
Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves couldn’t quite match the feats of the clubs’ other men’s teams. Their 2-0 defeat by Melville United, in what will hopefully be the side’s final home match away from home, was a disappointment following some good recent performances and results.
Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies’ footballing experience this weekend was badly affected by sources outside their control. Up by two goals, from Jen Waterhouse and Kerrie Cox, and seemingly cruising at Northern United, the team had the match ripped away from them. A couple of odd penalty decisions coupled with several other bizarre occurrences tipped the match towards the home side, who held on to win 3-2 in an upset.
Good Merchant players of the day were Chris Walker (Comag Matamata Swifts) and Daniel Ellis (Fez Kebab Swifts 3rds).