When it comes to knockout cup soccer, certain things are a given. Chances are successful campaigners will come across oppositions who are unknown quantities and with that will come the probability of relatively foreign venues for some and, of course, a healthy dose of high drama.
Oh, and let's not forget - when it's raining in Hawke's Bay you can bet on your last dollar the away venues will be dry.
The Federation Cup men's footy on Saturday in the Central Football catchment brought its share of all of the above.
Wanganui City 4 Taradale 1
2013 Pacific Premiership champions Cape Physio Taradale's cup campaign ended with a dose of controversy at Wembley Park, Wanganui.
Down to nine men midway through the second half, the Robbie Parker-coached visitors were thumped 4-1 after going up 1-0 on Wanganui City.
"Both coaches [Taradale stand-in coach Stuart James] thought both the decisions [sending offs] were a bit strange," City player Simon Butters said, suspecting the first red card to centre-mid Matt Bruin was probably for a studs-up tackle but bereft of ideas on the second on on Dean Johnston.
"The players from both sides were frustrated by the referee's interpretations," Butters said of a game played on a rain-free but "wobbly" park that didn't allow for attractive footy.
Taradale started well but Wanganui came back strongly and although, "believe it or not" Kevin Keegan [obviously not of the ex-Liverpool fame] scored twice, James felt it was "one of those games".
"In the Hawke's Bay league we play a more physical and faster football so we were getting blown up quite a bit."
While they were disappointed and not at their best, James felt Dale should have done better.
Wanganui City 4 (Kevin Keegan 2, Anthony Bell, Latham Barry) Taradale 1 (Dean Johnston). HT: 2-1.
Levin 1sts 0 Havelock 3
Coach Bruce Barclay, a police officer, had no qualms about consulting his Western Rangers colleague Nathan Ross before heading south.
"It was a case of Hawke's Bay teams working together. We had a bit of an idea but they were still an unknown quantity," Barclay said after picking the brains of Ross whose side had lost 2-0 to Levin AFC 1sts in the previous cup round at St Leonard's Park, Hastings.
Best Travel Havelock North Wanderers beat Levin 1sts 3-0 at Donnelly Park.
The hosts were a mature, older outfit who rushed out to the villagers fielding nine teenagers.
"They came at us with a band-and-crash intensity but soon as they got winded we got on top of them," Barclay said.
Levin 1sts 0 Havelock 3 (Laurent Larcelet, Kieran Sulikosky, Angus Fuhrer). HT: 2-0.
Peringa 3 Maycenvale 0
Up 1-0 at halftime, Peringa Prems (New Plymouth) beat Cru Bar Maycenvale United 3-0 in Palmerston North.
"They were not a bad side, knocking the ball around but it was a pretty even game," captain Nick Lucas said although he didn't play.
Even when Peringa lost a player to a red card with 15 minutes to go, Vale couldn't find the net.
Perhaps the bigger news for the Hastings side is Lucas returns this Saturday after serving a four-match suspension for receiving two yellow cards in a match and berating the referee.
"I got a yellow card for a sliding tackle and then I got another for asking him why.
"If I was violent or something I would have accepted a four-week suspension but I decided I couldn't be bothered appealing it," Lucas said.
Peringa 3 (unavailable) Maycenvale 0. HT: 1-0.
Rovers v Gisborne Utd
Bereavement in the visiting coach's family means Promotem Napier City Rovers will host Gisborne United this Saturday.
But that's not what worries Rovers coach Matt Hastings.
What concerns him is Central Football's draw that wants his troops to travel to Childers Road Reserve the following day to play Team Gisborne in a premiership clash.
"It's ridiculous because the league game is pointless for us and Team Gisborne because we can't finish any lower or higher than fourth," Hastings said, adding he was intending to contact Eastern general manager Phil Holt early this week as a mark of respect for his grieving counterpart to find what the mindset is.
Port Hill 1 Marist 4
Hot Shots Napier Marist didn't enter the Fed Cup but their league game against Honda Ericksen Port Hill United had all the intensity of a cup encounter.
That's because the two Pacific Premiership sides were playing for the bragging rights to the kings of the bottom four split on the ladder.
"Marist were lucky to score first because Port Hill had missed a few chances before that," Marist club captain Alan Dick said as the Dave Carswell-coached visitors won 4-1.
Dick said Marist went up 2-0 into halftime although the Tim Claudatos-coached hosts pulled one back on resumption but the visitors hit back within five minutes to go up 3-1.
"It was just like a cup match," he said.
Port Hill 1 (Matt Single) Marist 4 (Jake Murphy hattrick, Jonny Greaney). HT: 2-0.
Red Sox 5 Taradale 1
It's every coach's dream and Red Sox Manawatu ensured their mentor was going to realise that.
The hosts thumped the Chris McIvor-coached Your Solutions Taradale 5-1 at Memorial Park, Palmerston North, on Saturday.
Well, Red Sox scored six, conceding an own goal, to shut out the visitors all together.
"We stuck to our patterns, kept our discipline with and without the ball and just replicated what we wanted to from our training to the pitch," Sox said coach Aaron Clegg, adding it was their best start for the season.
Said Taradale vice-captain Corey Charlton: "They came out firing and put three quick ones past us within 20 minutes.
"They just had too much pace for us."
Sitting in second place on the standings, Clegg said Red Sox had two games remaining against leaders Palmerston North Marist.
"We need to win both our games while Marist have four to play so we need them to lose or draw a game to give us a chance of winning the title."
Both the Palmy sides are hoping to gain promotion to the Central League as there are no representatives from Manawatu at winter's most elite league in the region.
Taradale are sitting in fourth place behind Team Taranaki.
Red Sox 5 (Dane Cleaver 2, Jerram Tuck 2, James Kelly) Taradale 1 (own goal). HT: 4-0.