The irony shouldn't have been lost on Hawke's Bay United player/co-coach Bill Robertson in their loss to Eastern Suburbs in Auckland.
Uruguayan import striker Martin Bueno was pivotal in helping the flagship team from the province, Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers, lift the Chatham Cup last winter.
However, Bueno became the architect of Thirsty Bay United's demise on Sunday when he scored a goal, got Blues player/coach Robertson pinged for a yellow card and made referee Anthony Riley see red as veteran defender Adam Cowan went for a shower in the 83rd minute.
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It couldn't have come at a more crucial time in the national summer league clash for the visitors who could have come away at least with a point in the 4-2 loss at Riverhills Park, albeit with their premiership playoff hopes dashed.
To be fair Cowan's card was justified but the question remains — is the 28-year-old Suburbs forager still getting away with "Hollywood" antics, as evident in the televised affair?
"Look, he plays in a certain way so, I think, if you take that away from his game he won't be that effective a player," said a diplomatic Bay co-coach, Chris Greatholder, although he was reluctant to labour the subject.
Riley had warned Bueno late in the match not to dive after he had hollered at the official, claiming Robertson had tugged at his shirt when all the centre back had done was place his arm on his shoulder in the box. Bueno went sprawling inside the box but came away with nothing although the earlier yellow card for a flailing Robertson arm to his jaw was not a card offence.
Robertson said it was part of Bueno's repertoire to "wind up the referee and ask him lots of questions". That tended to put the official in a compromised situation and some saw that as part of the game.
"I don't like it, mate," he said with a laugh, believing it was often a desperate ploy to gain an advantage at any cost.
"But we know him well, don't we?," he said. "We know what he's going to do so I don't think he's that influential ..."
He felt there was no contact on Bueno who had attempted to "con" Riley but felt officials had a difficult enough job with players trying to buy decisions from them.
If anything, Bay United had shown character in clawing their way back from 3-0 to question if complacency had crept into the Suburbs' psyche.
The hosts opened their account, 1-0, through new signing Stafford Dowling in the 17th minute after Bay United had dominated from the kick off. Captain Adam Thurston surged forward, passed the ball to Reid Drake who unselfishly left it for Dowling to finish at the near upright.
Alec Solomons extended that lead, 2-0, after pouncing on a ball that had ricocheted off the crossbar following a cornerkick, in the 24th minute.
The Lily Whites had held that advantage into the break with Bay United captain/goalkeeper Ruben Parker Hanks picking up injuries twice in that spell.
When play resumed, that lead became 3-0 after Bueno had exposed the Bay defence which was sloppy in clearing a corner kick. The ball had landed inside the penalty box, not far from the near upright. Bueno had poked it into the net from 5m out in the 64th minute.
The visitors had pulled one back from Gavin Hoy, 3-1. The Canadian midfielder had curled one from an oblique angle to leave Suburbs keeper Danyon Drake flat-footed for the goal of the match in the 73rd minute.
Havelock North teenager Kenny Willox had started before Sam Wall made his debut off the bench in his place. The latter had made an impact not long after when he made a deft pass to his left flank to find Angus Kilkolly on the top of the penalty box. The Hastings-born striker drilled a worm burner that took a deflection off Solomons' knee to narrow the deficit to 3-2 in the 77th minute.
The Lily Whites had signed off with a penalty kick to Thurston for a 90th minute foul on Matt Palmer. Robertson had shoved Wall into the path of Palmer but the teen's wild clearance kick instead took out the substitute player in the box. Riley had pointed to the spot and Thurston had Hanks diving the wrong way.
Greatholder lauded his players for their courage and bravery after teeing themselves up on a dose of confidence.
He said Bay United would endeavour to finish their campaign on a high note regardless of the results.