FOOTBALL

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

Manukau City 1 v Mata­mata Swifts 2

NRFL Division 2 Satur­day Septem­ber 1,

Stan­ley Group Mata­mata Swifts have com­pleted their 2012 cam­paign with their fifth away vic­tory of the sea­son against this year’s Chatham Cup sur­prise pack­age, Manukau City.

An in­jury-time win­ner from Macken­zie Smith stole all three points for the Swifts from an evenly con­tested match in which each team had enough chances to win.

Smith’s calm side­footed strike, fol­low­ing good work from lead­ing scorer, Jack McNab, al­lowed Mata­mata to end this most dif­fi­cult of sea­sons on a high.

Mata­mata had ear­lier taken the lead right on the stroke of half­time af­ter a first half in which both sides bat­tled against the atro­cious play­ing sur­face.

McNab slot­ted home his 16th goal of the sea­son af­ter pres­sur­ing Manukau’s keeper into a mis­take.

The goal, as with the win­ner, couldn’t have been timed any bet­ter.

The home side’s equaliser came af­ter a sus­tained pe­riod of sec­ond-half pres­sure. Even though their lack of re­cent match­play looked to fi­nally be catch­ing up with them, Mata­mata ac­tu­ally re­sponded well.

The Swifts’ sec­ond wind en­sured a fran­tic fi­nal 10 min­utes when An­drew Carter, Scott Par­son­age, McNab and one of Manukau’s de­fend­ers all looked likely to give Mata­mata the lead, be­fore Smith fi­nally grabbed the telling goal. Mata­mata keeper Jonathan Crook made an im­por­tant save dur­ing this spell, keep­ing the scores level de­spite bat­tling al­most the en­tire game with what looked to have been a bro­ken hand.

Each side hit the wood­work dur­ing this en­ter­tain­ing en­counter, with the home side strik­ing both the cross bar and the up­right from free-kicks dur­ing the first spell, while McNab thun­dered a header into the cross bar only min­utes be­fore Mata­mata’s win­ner.

Mata­mata con­tested this match like a side that hadn’t played for three weeks, which they hadn’t, in both the pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive senses.

The Swifts looked re­freshed and well rested, en­abling them to start and fin­ish the stronger of the two teams.

But they also had spells of rusti­ness, which meant the com­bi­na­tions some­times didn’t work and some of the pass­ing went astray. But the re­sult is what mat­ters and af­ter a long tough sea­son it was nice to spring into the off­sea­son with some­thing pos­i­tive un­der the belt.

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