Matamata Swifts had a bright footballing weekend as Comag Matamata Swifts made it four Loaded WaiBOP Premiership wins on the trot, while the Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies brought home silverware after victory in the Waikato Women’s Plate final.
A still-wintery Domain saw the Swifts edge past traditional rivals, Te Awamutu, 2-1 on Saturday in a match that never really rose to any great heights. The visitors were lively throughout, but the Swifts had an early lead when Brayden Lissington pounced on a keeper’s error to score the first half’s only goal. Matamata had slightly the better of the first 45 minutes but Te Awamutu hit the cross bar as the break neared.
Te Awamutu started the second half the stronger team as a strangely out of sorts Swifts struggled to break out. Thankfully the visitors struggled to create much in the way of clear cut openings, with their best effort well saved by keeper Karam Singh’s feet.
Matamata’s nerves were eased with 20 minutes remaining when Chris Walker was hauled down twice in the box, leaving the referee no alternative but to award a penalty, which Jamie Baxter duly converted to double the Swifts’ lead.
Te Awamutu got a deserved goal late on from a neat header but Matamata held on comfortably to take another three points.
The Swifts Ladies were taken to extra time in Sunday’s Waikato Plate final at Cambridge, before overcoming Northern United 2-1 in a classically intense cup final.
Matamata had the majority of the possession through the early stages, but spurned several great opportunities leaving it goalless at the break.
The Swifts came out firing after half time but against the run of play, as can happen, conceded a corner from which Northern scored a great headed goal. That heaped on extra pressure, but with 15 minutes to go a goal finally came. Renee Graumans rounded a Northern defender and was taken down in the box. Mary Ontiveros stepped up and convincingly slotted the resulting penalty.
Normal time ended with the teams unable to be separated so they headed into a further 30 minutes. The match continued in similar vein, with Matamata piling on the pressure. Ten minutes into the first half of extra time April Donnelly slipped the ball through to Renee Graumans to calmly slot it past the keeper and into the corner of the net for the lead. After a change back to a more defensive formation Matamata came away as Waikato Plate winners for the third time in seven years.
Victory followed a less than ideal lead up, which included injury to ever-present Bobbie Basalaj and controversy around the venue. It was great reward for all the hard work the players have put in this season. The team has two further league games before they end the season, with their final home game against Cambridge on Sunday September 9.