First hat-trick to Wat­son

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - By JONATHAN CROOK

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.

Pho­tos: SUP­PLIED

Win­ning form: Stan­ley Group Mata­mata Swifts took the game 3-1 against Otu­moetai.

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