With Wairarapa United up next in the Chatham Cup soccer campaign this weekend, it is fair to deduce Napier City Rovers would probably have wanted to be pushed a little more yesterday.
Sure, a 3-0 result puts "Big Mo" back in the changing room of the Conroy Removals-sponsored Blues and is the ideal psychological tonic any mental coach would have prescribed but could Palmerston North Marist have needled them more at Park Island?
The prudent will argue in the affirmative after the Shane Rufer-coached visitors kept them scoreless for two-thirds of the game before the floodgates opened for a stop-fretting victory in the Lotto Central League match at the Bluewater Stadium.
"We needed to score to frustrate them more," said a circumspect Rufer. "Football is about scoring goals and if you do, it changes everything."
Both sides had the opportunity to dictate terms but, like coy suitors at the end-of-year school balls, neither gathered enough courage until the 63rd minute when striker Angus Kilkolly soothed the jangled nerves of the Blues faithful for a 1-0 lead, following a deft drop from the top of the box from midfielder Ross Willox towards the left upright.
Right back Charlie Yexley's surging run down the flank to cut the ball back across two minutes later saw Kilkolly extend the lead to 2-0.
Rovers vice-captain Joshua Stevenson, with all the time in the world, drove the ball into the net from an oblique angle from inside the box on the right flank in the 75th minute to put the hosts up 3-0.
Rufer said overall the Blues were better and deserved their victory, following on from the 4-2 one in Palmy on April 14.
For the visitors, the goal is to avoid relegation with six games left. They play a Federation Cup (knockout) game against Western Rangers this weekend.
"We'll try to regroup, lick our wounds and then carry on," he said.
Rovers counterpart Bill Robertson said despite the latent vigour, his men had dominated possession and created more opportunities.
"Good day for us, good performance, good three points," Robertson said, mindful Marist had successfully frustrated them with big lads who could do damage from set pieces.
Video sessions will reveal what captain Fergus Neil and his men need to do to refine their game for Wairarapa.
"We can beat anyone on our day so it's important we focus on that," he said.
It was national volunteer week so Sport Hawke's Bay sports capability manager Tina Haslett, amid accolades, paid tribute to club stalwart Malcolm Wilson.
Wilson, who also is ground announcer during winter, saved the club more than $2700 in doing some repair and refurbishment to the corporate boxes and media booth after last month's flooding, Haslett said.
"There's a group of us and we're all retired," said Wilson, who has dedicated close to 40 years to the club and whose wife, Jill, still serves as club secretary. Their sons, Stu and Danny, are still playing in the top two divisions.
The 67-year-old, who has coached players at myriad levels and also served as team manager up to the flagship Blues team, is the club captain.
His repair job, with a loyal club working bee, included fitting 20m-plus external metal flashing along windows. Wet carpet was pulled and floor painted in five rooms to ensure they were ready for entertaining VIP guests.