Barrett Homes Tauranga Blue Rovers recorded a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Matamata Swifts in the Loaded Federation Premiership on Saturday.

Quickly into their stride, the team took a sixth-minute lead courtesy of a flying header by Reuben Wood from a Robert Barnes corner, which left the keeper clutching at thin air.

Despite dominating possession they soon found themselves 2-1 down but fought back to equalise right on halftime.

A crude tackle on captain Karl Bryant allowed Robert Barnes the opportunity to flight a free kick over the wall and beyond the despairing clutches of the Matamata keeper.


The halftime team talk revolved around taking the game to the opposition and the strong belief that the match was Tauranga's to win.

But it was not until the 72nd minute that Thomas Crane scored the winner, bursting into the box holding off two Matamata defenders before his sublime finish left the keeper with no chance and capped off a dominant performance for the team in red.

A great defensive display in the last 10 minutes reflected the desire and purpose to the team's performance best typified by Reuben Woods' courage in attack despite suffering a head wound.

In the earlier match, Tauranga Blue Rovers' Federation Championship team fought out a pulsating 5-all draw with their Matamata counterparts. Following on from their 6-1 victory over Te Puke last week, goals from Thomas Crane (2), Philip Ranger (2) and Luke Barlow ensured a share of the points.

Papamoa, Melville United and West Hamilton United, all sides that finished outside the top five in 2017, are unbeaten after two rounds of the Loaded WaiBOP Premiership.

Meanwhile, in the Northern Regional Football League Division 1 clash Fencibles United defeated Tauranga City FC 3-1 in Pakuranga after the game was locked 1-all at the break. Tauranga's goal was scored by Sam O'Reagen.

Loaded WaiBOP Premiership results:
Mercury Tokoroa 0 Tauranga Boys' College 6 (Stanley Rust 2, Scott Hawkins, Alexander Elliot, Scott Ellerington, Ryan Peddle). (HT:0-1).
Waikato Unicol 1 West Hamilton Utd 2. (HT: 1-0).
Taupo 2 Otumoetai 1. (HT: 1-0).
Papamoa FC 3 (Mitchell Hales 2, Andy Cooper) Te Awamutu 1. (HT: 1-0).
Melville Utd 5 Hamilton Wanderers 0. (HT: 4-0).
Matamata Swifts 2 Tauranga Blue Rovers 3. (HT:2-all).

WaiBOP Championship
Waikato Unicol Reserves 0 Ngaruawahia United 1. (HT: 0-all).
Taupo Reserves 4 Otumoetai Reserves 0. (HT: 3-0).
Matamata Swifts Reserves 5 Tauranga Blue Rovers Reserves 5. (HT: 2-4).
Te Puke United 2 Cambridge 3. (HT: 0-2).