Napier City Rovers signalled their start to the winter soccer league with an emphatic victory at home in a game that yielded 10 goals.
The Thirsty Whale-sponsored Blues thumped Lotto Central League newbies Integration Works Waterside Karori 7-3 in the opening round at Bluewater Stadium, Park Island, on a pristine day that resembled anything but winter although there was enough ISPS Handa Premiership presence on the park for a summery feeling.
The newly promoted Capital League side from last year battled commendably in the first half to go into the changing rooms 2-1 down but discovered in the second spell why it is a privilege to be competing at the most elite men's winter platform in the Capital Football and Central Football regions.
It was Waterside Karori's Kyung Kong Dim who drew first blood in just the eighth minute for the Rupert Crump-coached outfit.
The visitors attacked down the right flank, worked the ball into the middle before it was relayed to the left flank where Dim drilled it past Rovers goalkeeper Ruben Parker Hanks for a 1-0 lead.
The 1-1 equaliser came in the 20th minute for the James Hoyle-captained side, the product of a mental explosion on the left side of the penalty box after a Waterside Karori defender brought down Uruguayan forward Martin Bueno to concede a free kick.
Oddly Waterside Karori didn't prop up a defensive wall as Canadian centre midfielder Patryk Misik drilled it past the congregation of white shirts, although goalkeeper Charles Morris didn't stand much of a chance after the ball deflected off a defender into the net.
The hosts went up 2-1 in the 31st minute after Misik made good with a crisp finish from inside the 18m box following a probing run from compatriot Wesley Cain on the right wing.
The lead came after centreback Danny Wilson had nodded a ball, from set-piece play, tantalisingly over the cross bar before striker Joshua Stevenson had done all the flower arrangements inside the box but his boot failed to comply for the finish.
Referee Anthony Riley copped an earful from Blues player/coach Bill Robertson on the sideline after he flashed a yellow card at Bueno for what he perceived to be a take better suited for a Hollywood script in the 52nd minute.
"Hey, that's not a dive? Surely you're not calling that a dive, are you?" Robertson yelled with arms raised but his appeals fell on deaf ears after the striker went down on the top edge of the 18m box.
Riley's card came a couple of minutes after Rovers' English centreback, Jamie Wilkinson, rightly collected a yellow card for a crude tackle from behind on Connor Boyd.
The Rovers had a golden opportunity to extend their lead in the 58th minute when Cain put a superb cross from the right flank but Bueno's volley sailed cruelly over the crossbar - although it begged the question if a header would perhaps have been better suited for that quality of pass.
However, two minutes later they did go up 3-1 when a Waterside Karori defender elbowed down Bueno in the 18m box. Bueno had keeper Morris diving the wrong way from the spot kick.
The floodgates started to open with the hosts up 4-1 when multiple-somersaulting Cain scored in the 68th and diminutive leftback Liam Schofield joined the party for a 5-1 buffer from an acute-angle pop shot from inside the 18m box.
Robertson pulled out Bueno to inject veteran Chris McIvor soon after in what some Blues fans dubbed their "youth policy".
Stevenson destroyed the soul of the promoted Wellingtonians with another dagger in the heart in the 77th minute (6-1) when he latched on to a long ball from Cain before taking a touch to surge into the 18m box. Once inside the stock exchange, the police officer crisply planted the ball into the net with the next touch.
Waterside Karori pulled two goals back in quick succession from striker Ryan Cain in the 83rd and 85th minutes but the visitors' feeble effort to celebrate on the park summed up their resignation with the don't-argue result.
Wesley Cain drove the final nail in the coffin in the 90th minute for a season that promises a lot for the Bluewater Stadium faithful, although a better yardstick will be their away game against Miramar Rangers in a 2.30pm kick off at David Farrington Park, Wellington, this Sunday.
Earlier, Building King Havelock North Wanderers went down 2-0 to Stop Out Soccer Club at Hutt Park, Wellington.
The villagers from Hastings, who accepted a last-minute invitation to the Central League as the Lotto Federation League champions who lost to Waterside Karori in their promotion playoffs, conceded both goals in the first half to 2016 golden boot winner Jerram Tuck in quick succession in the 35th and 37th minutes.
Wanderers player/coach Chris Greatholder said it was a good introduction to a higher league for his troops even though the result didn't go their way.
"We've learned a lot, obviously, and we've run in close. We had probably two or three decent opportunities which we should have scored.
"We're disappointed with the loss but in our first run out, when we're still learning our shape and our tactics, it's not too disheartening," said Greatholder of the Ethan Dent-captained side, who play Wellington United at Newtown Park in the capital city in a 2.30pm kick off in their next round this Saturday.