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North Shore United 3, Matamata Swifts AFC 2
Allen Hill Stadium, Auckland, June 10 2012

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Over the past few months, I have been complimented many times by players, coaches and fans for my “unbiased and sensible” write-ups of local New Zealand football. I continue to be touched by this and I will of course endeavour to, as they say, ‘keep up the good work’ to the best of my ability. It’s not always possible though. Take today for example.

I wasn’t going to attend any live football this weekend, partly due to a desire for a wee break and partly due to the obvious need for some serious Euro 2012 couch time. But an offer was made that I couldn’t refuse. Matamata Swifts stalwart Dwayne Barlow asked me via Twitter to come to their away match at North Shore United’s Allen Hill Stadium, and what’s more, he said he’d sweeten the deal with a Swifts scarf.

Now, I know there are codes of ethics in the media world about accepting gifts and allowing yourself to be influenced by them. I would like to at this point reassure my readers beyond any shadow of a doubt that those rules absolutely do not apply to bloggers.

Matamata were well and truly robbed blind in this game by a North Shore side that cheated more times in one match than Tiger Woods manages in a month, and a referee that couldn’t tell a foul from a custard tart.

It all started from a North Shore goal early in the first half that was more offside than Paul Henry at a feminism conference. At least it might have been, I wasn’t really paying attention, I was too busy admiring my lovely new scarf. But thankfully it didn’t take too long at all for Matamata, AKA the forces of righteousness, to equalise at the other end via a goal Barcelona would have been proud of, thus restoring order to the Force once again.

The 1-1 scoreline after 45 minutes did not reflect the sheer class, skill and dominance that the plucky Swifts had graced the game with. Meanwhile my new scarf kept me warm and toasty on this cold winter’s day as other less fortunate spectators clutched steaming hot coffee cups and huddled up to each other as best they could during the half time break.

The second half got underway almost like a mirror image of the first. Within a couple of minutes of the restart, Matamata had the lead via yet another example of champagne football. Seriously, how this squad is not in the premier division beats me. The goalscorer was on debut too. The next David Beckham, no question. However somehow North Shore managed to hit straight back via some sort of fluke I don’t even know what happened…

Then, the real travesty occurred. A North Shore penalty (and I’m actually being serious here) supposedly for a push inside the box. I was standing right there and I honestly have no idea what it was the ref saw. This was followed by three excellent penalty shouts at the other end that were a lot more compelling than the Shore’s one. But referee Mr S Wonder waved all three away. 3-2 the final score.

Hard luck for the Swifts, but they should console themselves with the fact that they have very nice scarves. I’m cuddling mine as we speak. Thanks guys!

Categories: NZ Northern Men's Division 2

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: http://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

5 replies

  1. This isn’t the Northern League forum. If you leave mindless abuse again I’ll simply delete it. Not a big deal really. Just a waste of your time and mine.

    1. Love your work Enzo, I really appreciate that you cover games from all leagues. Very amusing write up by the way. I am sure most people are aware that much of what you wrote was tongue in cheek.

  2. I must say I watched the whole game and was suprised with the Referee’s decisions.. he never once played advantage when a silly foul was committed and stopped both teams progressing with the ball, the Shore penalty was legit I did see a mild push!!!! As for the Matamata’s two shouts for penalties they were turned down to my disbelief. This Referee and linesman should go back to Refereeing kids games. A good entertaining game to watch, Nth shore could go a long way in this league if they stop trying to play the long ball, they have youth on their side and should treat possession more valuably

  3. Nice work mate. Hope the scarf keeps you warm on these chilly winter evenings. Clearly your humour was a little too subtle for some, but that only adds to the joke. A classic piece of work all round 😉

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