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Performing when it Matamatas

Matamata Swifts 6, Onehunga Mangere 0
Matamata Domain, Matamata, May 14 2017

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Generally when I scan the draw looking for a cup tie to attend, I’m trying to identify a game that’s contested by at least one team I wouldn’t ordinarily watch play as well as a match that has the potential to go all the way to penalties. This Round One Chatham Cup fixture seemed to fit the bill. I’ve never been to Matamata Domain and with Onehunga Mangere struggling a bit in NRFL Division 2 I thought the Mountain Men may have a potential banana skin ahead of them against a WaiBOP Premiership club on the fringes of promotion contention.

Usually, once the outcome of my game of choice becomes clear, I consider myself to have failed miserably if it was a one-sided thrashing. But that’s always been because the underdog has failed to lift for the big occasion and the team from a higher division has administered a footballing lesson. How often do you see a team from a lower tier spank their more illustrious opposition by six goals?? I’ve never seen it happen with my own eyes in a Chatham Cup tie. So the novelty value of this game was definitely sufficient to mean I wasn’t too disappointed not to have witnessed a nail biter this time!

In saying that though, from the perspective of someone like me who does have a bit of a soft spot for Onehunga Mangere as well as a lot of time for their embattled coach, who is a super nice guy, this was a little bit difficult to watch at times. To put it perhaps a little cruelly (I can’t help myself) I watched my dearly loved cat get put down on Friday night and watching OM get killed the next day had some unwelcome similarities…

It’s definitely no exaggeration to say that Matamata dominated the game from start to finish and apart from one shot that ricocheted off the crossbar late in the first half I am struggling to remember any serious threats on the home side’s goal even if the visitors did look dangerous at times on the counterattack.

If anything, the final score flattered the Mountain Men who benefitted from a fair amount of wastefulness in front of goal by their opponents.

Matamata had two gilt edged opportunities to open the scoring inside the first twenty minutes. The first one saw Chris Walker beat the keeper but not the defender on the line, and the second saw a Dwayne Signal shot cannon off the post back into the path of Glen Carmichael who headed the rebound over the target.

As luck would have it though the arguable worst offender of the two above, Walker, would get another chance to grab the lead for the underdogs in the 25th minute – and this time he made no mistake.

Onehunga Mangere probably enjoyed their best spell of the match between going a goal down and the half time whistle, but that didn’t stop the Swifts from looking likely to extend their lead – and they did in that coach killing period right before the break. Sam Masterson found the goal from an acute angle deep on the left hand side of the penalty area and 2-0 was the score after the first 45 minutes were done.

The visitors took advantage of a lovely sunny day and the beautiful Autumn ‘Hobbiton’ scenery to conduct the half time inquest out on the pitch. It didn’t appear to have done much good though when, two minutes post the restart, Matamata’s Brad West somehow managed to miss an open goal. Then just four minutes after his sin came redemption – he slotted home a slightly more difficult opportunity and in so doing took us to 3-0.

The game was well and truly put to bed with two goals by Swifts skipper Scott Parsonage in the 77th and 87th minutes. The second was probably the best goal of the day – a sweetly hit outswinger from distance that swerved its way in possibly just grazing the left hand upright.

Logan Raynel grabbed the sixth in the third minute of stoppage time to complete Onehunga Mangere’s day of misery.

And all that was left for me at that point was to bid Matamata a fond farewell and move to partake in the pleasure that is the third criterion for selecting a cup tie I neglected to mention above – proximity to my mum’s house! There is always a sumptuous home cooked meal and a glass of wine waiting for me in Te Aroha when it’s near enough to a football road trip route.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Categories: NZ Chatham Cup

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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: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

1 reply

  1. New Zealand is a tiny country. Ifeanyi Unamadu used to play for University in the southern league, and him popping up here is a pleasant surprise.

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