First hat-trick to Watson
The Stanley Group Matamata Swifts travelled to Otumoetai looking to get their season back on track as a reschedule saw them in the middle of three consecutive away games.
With their opposition also having won just one game, it was vital that the Swifts brought three points back to Matamata.
As is often the case when such importance is put on a result, it was a nervy opening for both sides.
The first chance fell to Otumoetai. A ball into the box was only partially cleared by the Matamata defence and it was only the smallest touch which saw the ensuing shot deflected wide of the Swifts’ goal.
With three of the previous week’s starting 11 out due to various commitments it was a reshuffled lineup for the Swifts which saw starting debuts for brothers Adrian and Austin Naicker.
Their inclusion saw Ben Watson pushed out to the wing and Matamata’s opening opportunity came as he cut in from out wide.
Taking the ball across the face of the defence, Watson eventually found space on the right and his shot left the Otumoetai keeper with no chance.
The early goal dispelled many of the initial nerves and allowed the Swifts to settle. Matamata continued to have the better of the match and they were presented with a second golden opportunity when Adrian Naicker broke into the box only to be brought down by a lunging defender. Ben Watson once again stood up and blasted the ball through the keeper’s hands from the penalty spot for his second to give Matamata a seemingly comfortable 2- 0 lead in the half.
The Swifts have been guilty of letting teams back in to the match however, and this week was no different.
The first half dominance seemed to be dispelled by the break and it was Otumoetai who pressed forward early in the second period.
And, as has also been a regular theme so far this year, it was from the spot that their opposition found their way back into the game, this time as a seemingly clean block was pulled up for handball.
With the score at 2-1, Otumoetai continued to press forward in search of an equaliser, with Matamata looking dangerous on the break.
The clearer chances were still falling to the Swifts.
A two on one was somehow squandered and there was a certain fear that these chances might come back to haunt them.
This was until Watson decided it was time to produce the first hat-trick of the year.
Finding his way through the defence he again unleashed a powerful drive to give him his third and the Swifts a 3-1 advantage.
This seemed like the killer blow and, though Matamata were unable to add to their tally, their goal was rarely threatened.
While pleased with the three points, the team knows there is still plenty to work on and they will need to improve if they are to topple second placed AFC Fury next week.
In other matches this weekend, the Peter Vossen Builder’s Federation 2 team hosted Te Awamutu. With players having been called in to the Federation 1 team due to absences, it was an ‘‘experienced’’ team which turned out at the Matamata Domain.
And it was an improved showing from previous weeks, with the final result a narrow 2-0 win to the visitors. The Federation 2 team also travel to Fury next weekend.
The Challenge Ladies side travelled to league leaders Morrinsville. With the playing side becoming more settled it was once again an improved performance from the Swifts who are beginning to play better football all around the park. Stand-outs this week were Victoria Bowers- Mason, Sarah Hunter, Dayna Samuel and player of the match Rebecca Stewart.
The ladies face Otorohanga at home next weekend, kickoff 11am.
Winning form: Stanley Group Matamata Swifts took the game 3-1 against Otumoetai.