The first weekend of the 2018 football season was a largely fruitless one for Matamata Swifts teams involved in league action.
Comag Matamata Swifts lost 2-1 at West Hamilton in their opening Loaded WaiBOP Premiership match, while the Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies tasted a 2-0 defeat at Melville United. The Swifts reserves will want to move on quickly from their 12-0 WaiBOP Championship loss at Ngaruawahia United.
The Swifts’ match at West Hamilton, played on an horrendous surface, never rose to any great heights. There was a big moment of controversy during the first half when Dayne Willemsen mysteriously had what should have been the opening goal ruled out, but apart from that neither side really got to grips with the game.
West Hamilton scored twice during their best spell to open up a match winning lead during the third quarter of the match. Their first came direct from a corner, while the second was scored from an indirect free kick in the box after Swifts keeper, Matt Aberhart, was harshly ruled to have picked up a back pass after a scramble from another West Hamilton corner.
Young substitute Harry Conner, on debut, bundled the ball home for the Swifts with enough time left to set up a grandstand finish, but the hosts held on. For all their possession, the Swifts’ final ball in the attacking third was too often over hit and the team will look back on this fixture as a wasted opportunity to pick up their first points of the season.
Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies performed well at one of Waikato Ladies Division A’s top sides, Melville United. Captain Mary Ontiveros led the team well from centre back, ensuring Melville found the Swifts difficult to break down while also causing the hosts trouble from a series of well hit free kicks. Cynthia McNabb also performed admirably for Matamata after a late call to go in goal.
Matamata, who improved remarkably over the course of their last campaign, showed they could mix it with one of the top teams in the Waikato and will head into their first home game against Northern United next Sunday full of confidence.
The Swifts and Swifts reserves are both on the road again, with matches scheduled against their counterparts at Tauranga Blue Rovers.
The Swifts’ men’s 3rd team, which will play in the Waikato Sunday Soccer League (WSSL) this season, picked up the club’s first silverware of the season after winning the plate final at the WSSL’s pre-season 7-a-side tournament.