Only two of Matamata Swifts senior teams were in action over the weekend, with both Comag Matamata Swifts and Richardson Racing Stables Swifts reserves heading to Hamilton to play their Waikato Unicol counterparts.
In the result of the Loaded WaiBOP Premiership weekend, the Swifts fought back from a half time deficit to beat second-placed Unicol 2-1 in a result that has almost snuffed out the students’ title chances.
After talking an early lead Unicol were the stronger team during the first half. Their lively wide men mounted sustained pressure on the Swifts defensive unit, who did well to keep the lead to one at the break. Matamata did have their moments, however, as Dayne Willemsen looped a shot just over the bar and the team also had a good penalty shout waved away.
It was a different game after half time. The Swifts looked far more incisive going forward, creating three great opportunities before Willemsen fired home the equaliser on the hour.
By then, Unicol was a shadow of their first half team and the Swifts continued to prise them open.
The goal that turned out to be the winner came with fourteen minutes left. Leading scorer, Chris Walker, squared for Brad West to lash the ball home.
Unicol mounted a period of sustained late pressure, but a combination of strong Swifts defending and a couple of brave saves by keeper, Patrick Steele, matched with their own desperation, meant the Swifts held on to record their fifth win in a row.
The victory sees Matamata remain in fourth on the table, but they now sit only two points behind second placed Unicol with a game in hand. The Swifts have four games left, including this Saturday’s trip to third-placed Tauranga Old Blues, who sit one point above Matamata. While Cambridge, who are now six points clear, appear likely Premiership winners, the tightness of the table means the next four or five spots are still up for grabs.
In the early game the young Richardson Racing Stables Swifts reserves put in another solid showing, but were unable to put Unicol reserves under enough pressure to get a result. The team was down by two at the break and conceded another goal in the second half to end up losing 3-0.