To be ordained a Wellington Phoenix feeder club should come with an air of distinction in New Zealand football.
It should be worn as a badge of honour, putting oppositions on notice that they have arrived with a licence to make the hosts tremble a little in their boots.
Unfortunately Lower Hutt City AFC did none of the above when they succumbed 7-0 to Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers in round eight of the Central League match at Park Island today.
The Wellingtonians were down 6-0 in the first half to the defending champions at Bluewater Stadium.
Put another way, the Canaries are not in the same league as Declan Edge's Ole Academy boys representing the Western Suburbs.
Sure, the visitors are predominantly teenagers, paying to attend the Lower Hutt City academy for games each weekend, but the standard of play should always be the yardstick, even if they are up against an import-riddled, park-savvy Blues.
Today's game turned out to be a yawn fest by halftime and Lower Hutt barely looking like scoring despite veteran Rovers goalkeeper Kyle Baxter looking out of sorts with a fumble to gift a corner kick and a miscued goal kick to no one in particular.
However, they did mount a few counterattacks mid-way through the second half, no doubt taking on board whatever coach Paul Temple had told the Sam Sutton-captained outfit.
Perhaps for that reason attacking midfielder Ethan Clarke should have a say on how he went on his debut for the Blues with about 15 minutes to go.
The son of former national league and Chatham Cup-winning Rovers striker Harry Clarke found the pace of the game crisp and had to adjust to it.
"I felt like I did that so that was good," said the 17-year-old Napier Boys' High School student. "It's all about learning from older players and experiencing new things."
Clarke said his electrician father was at the park to watch him play.
Defending golden boot contender Martin Bueno opened the hosts' account, 1-0, in just the 16th minute after a defender brought him down in the 18m box.
The Uruguayan striker converted before carrying a ball boy in his arms, behind the goalmouth, to celebrate.
Centre-mid Karan Mandair made it 2-0 when he took possession of the ball at the halfway mark, beat two defenders along the rib of the field before drilling it past Lower Hutt goalkeeper Alexander Paulsen in the 20th minute.
Japan import Sho Goto extended the lead to 3-0 in the space of another four minutes after some sloppy efforts to clear the ball from Lower Hutt defenders.
It was midfielder Gavin Hoy's turn to add to the ballooning tally, 4-0, when the Canadian import left Paulsen stranded with a wicked left-foot placement from just inside the top edge of the 18m box, from an obtuse angle, in the 32nd minute.
The Lower Hutt youngsters were still reeling from the onslaught when Joshua Stevenson made good a cross from Jonathan McNamara in the 33rd minute but schoolboy referee's assistant, Shea Hughes, had his flag raised for an offside.
The game got physical from there with some crude tackles from both sides but referee Edward Cook seemed reluctant to pull out a yellow card. For the record he didn't until the 90th minute — innocuously to Maximilian Batchelor for a tackle on Stevenson.
However, McNamara casually tucked the ball into the net to make it 5-0 in the 44th minute before Bueno made it 6-0 for a brace in two minutes of the ref's time after side-footing, from point-blank range, a cross from Hoy on the right flank.
The Fergus Neil-captained Rovers didn't score again until the 57th minute when Mandair joined the brace club, this time latching on to a defensive blunder to make the opposition pay for the final nail in the coffin.
The damage should have been bigger because the Blues missed a rash of goals but they could be excused for trying to maintain the intensity when the game was over well before halftime.
■ In the Central Federation League games yesterday, Building King Havelock North Wanderers walloped Red Sox Manawatu 6-0 at Guthrie Park in Hastings.
The Wanderers were up only 1-0 at halftime from a Guy Reeves goal before Liam Shackleton, Kurtis Maney, Jack Parker (two goals) and Bjorn Christensen joined the party.
At Park Island, Alexander Electric Napier Marist FC overwhelmed Palmerston North Boys' High School first XI 5-0 after leading 2-0 at halftime.
Harry Mason claimed a hat-trick (8th, 34th and 52nd) while Josh Murphy (49th) and Tom Tidy (78th) ensured Marist claimed their sixth victory on the trot with 19 goals and three against so far on their debut in the league.
They did it without captain Ethan Dent who was running a half marathon.