Comag Matamata Swifts had their recent good run of form snapped after losing 4-3 at home to Te Awamutu on Saturday.
The first half was an open and eventful affair as the teams traded goals and chances throughout. The visitors went ahead early when they went direct, creating the sort of defensive problems the Swifts have battled against for more than a season. Te Awamutu should have doubled their lead inside the first quarter hour, but a hotly contested penalty call was well saved by young keeper, Patrick Steele.
Matamata drew level soon after when centre-half, Mike Dawson, swept the ball home following a corner.
Te Awamutu’s style of play continued to bring reward. They found themselves two goals to the good around the half hour mark following a neat header and a goal from their second penalty of the half.
The Swifts halved the deficit leading into the break after they were awarded a dubious penalty of their own. Jamie Baxter converted with ease.
The second half of the match was unrecognisable as the visitors determined to stick with what they had. They played a form of forceback, which gave the Swifts most of the ball but also kept the home team comfortably at arm’s length.
Missing the creative influence of Sam Masterson and the pace of Chris Walker, Matamata struggled to pick the lock. But they finally had the equaliser less than ten minutes from the end when Dayne Willemsen broke through and crossed for Brad West to slot home.
The twist in the tail, however, came late when the visitors went back to what had worked so well earlier. Their late winner gave them full reward following a first half effort that should have left them with more.
For Matamata, the concern will be their continued struggles to defend the long balls and teams that counter with intent.
In the early game at the Domain, the Richardson Racing Stables Swifts reserves conceded early against Te Awamutu reserves in a game that went from bad to worse. The visitors ended up 7-0 winners.
More encouragingly, the Swifts A team found themselves back in the winners’ circle after a 7-2 win against the always delightful Wanderers Classics. It’s been a tough few weeks for the A team, but they belted the goals in against Waikato division A’s bottom side in a performance that lifted the spirits. The goals were spread around, with Ronan Costello grabbing a double and David Candy, Dylan Smith, Hayri Cihan, Jagroop Khatkar, and Jamie Cox also getting on the score sheet.
On Sunday the Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies team continued their winning run with a 2-1 home victory over Waikato Unicol. Cat Morris and Annemieke Verstraten scored the goals in what ended up being a tight encounter against opponents fighting desperately for points in Waikato Women’s Division A.
The victory maintained Matamata’s position in the top five of the league, although the gap to fourth place is six points with two games remaining in the first phase of the season.