Waikato 2 HB Utd 4
Porritt Stadium, Hamilton
The message from Declan Edge was simple.
"Send me a text after the game. If I feel like saying something, I'll respond," the Waikato coach and former international said before the ASB Premiership kick-off against Kinetic Electrical Hawke's Bay United in Hamilton on Saturday.
Edge didn't respond and it's understandable why after the Chris Greatholder-coached Bay United trounced the hosts 4-2 at Porritt Stadium.
If the premiership website play-by-play report is anything to go by, then Waikato didn't turn up at the park at all in the first half.
"HB are winning without even having to do very much," the website said at halftime.
"That was a pedestrian, uninspired half by Waikato, poor passing, lack of movement."
To the credit of the Bill Robertson-skippered Bay side, how Waikato performed was irrelevant. The visitors could only do what they had to do to secure the much-needed three points before hitting the highway home with a grin.
Centre-mid Adam Cowan drew first blood in the 25th minute, nudging the ball from close to the upright after a curling cross beat Waikato goalkeeper Danyon Drake from the left flank.
A minute before halftime, Drake came charging out of his goalmouth but totally missed the ball as Bay striker Sam Margetts coolly pushed it into the net to make it 2-0.
Edge made a rash of substitutions for the second spell and five minutes into the half Tyler Boyd flicked an inside ball to Ryan Thomas who showed Matt Hastings a clean pair of heels to push it past keeper Shaun Peta to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
It wasn't until the 75th minute that Robertson climbed above the defence from a corner kick to nod home the ball for a 3-1 lead. The website author bagged keeper Drake for the umpteenth time but one has to ask where were the hosts' Beefeaters.
Thirteen minutes later, substitute Mohamed Awad pulled one back for Waikato to 3-2 after working in tandem with Boyd but Bay substitute striker Hamish Watson came back with a don't-argue 4-2 soon after the kick-off before collecting a yellow card from referee Campbell Waugh.
Greatholder said it wasn't about avenging their 2-0 Taupo loss in November but the Bay were mindful before the kick off a victory would ignite their hopes for a maiden top-four play-off berth in the history of the premiership as they now trail Team Wellington by four points.
"We're now looking at playing Auckland City away next [Sunday, February 26] and it has been tough but we're good enough in my opinion." He preferred to take the credit for their performance on Saturday despite Waikato's mediocre first half.
"We knew their brand of football and how they play a passing game and we did what we do best," said the rookie coach who took over from Matt Chandler after round three when the latter suddenly left for Australia to coach.
Greatholder bemoaned conceding "two sloppy goals but we'll learn from that".
"We were better than the two-goal win. To a man it was a complete team performance."