The final two senior football matches of the 2019 season were played over the last week, with Comag Matamata Swifts being downed 2-1 at Tauranga Boys’ FC on Saturday, while Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies beat Waikato Unicol in a rare midweek match.
After a scratchy run through the middle of the season, the Swifts went on a run that secured their Soccer Shop Premiership status for another season. So Saturday’s match in Tauranga left both teams little to play for. As it turned out, the game was an open affair, with a plethora of chances created at both ends.
The Swifts opened the scoring through Hayden Turlington during the first half, before Tauranga equalised after half time. Matamata also hit the woodwork and saw two last ditch clearances by the home team’s defenders deny any further goals. At the other end, Swifts keeper Seamus Casey, was called on to make several important saves.
In a match of little real quality, a draw would have been an accurate result but the season’s final twist came more than five minutes into added time at the end. After a cheap Swifts turnover, Casey was left exposed, brought down the Tauranga attacker, was incorrectly sent off (he should have received a yellow card) then the hosts fired home from the penalty spot. Both the amount of added time and the red card brought back memories of negative incidents from earlier in the season, but thankfully this wasn’t season defining.
On a brighter note, the Swifts Ladies completed their 2019 schedule with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Unicol under the lights of Cambridge’s John Kerkhof Park.
Patrice Morrison confirmed her status as the team’s leading scorer for the season with a hat trick, while Maggie Leaver put in another solid performance that was rewarded with her seventeenth goal of a fine season.
Like the men, the ladies have had an inconsistent season, but two wins in four days at the end of the season confirmed them as the third best team in 2019’s Waikato Ladies Division 1.