Blink and the chances are you'll lose sight of the three points in the premier men's winter league this season.

One minute teams in the Ultra Football Central League look indomitable, the next they stumble due to myriad reasons.

Round six at the weekend again lent credence to that assumption with results showing no respect for the previous round's winners and losers.

Every side has lost at least one game in the 10-team league.


What perhaps sheds some light on patterns is games such the one between Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers and Wellington United in Napier yesterday.

The table-topping hosts, having lost to defending champions Advanced Electrical Western Suburbs last Sunday, made the Wellington Phoenix feeder club look somewhat ordinary in their 3-0 victory at Bluewater Stadium, Park Island, amid much anticipation of a battle royale.

It wasn't so much that the Paul Temple-coached boys in orange were devoid of zing - no, far from it - as they trailed 2-0 at halftime.

Wellington had played their hearts out for a team of young lads but they didn't seem to have the urgency and physicality of the Declan Edge-coached Suburbs.

But yesterday also was about what the Rovers had done since their 2-1 loss to Suburbs that spoke volumes of why the Joshua Stevenson-skippered side are setting the pace despite the hiccup.

They had done their homework on what they didn't do in the defeat to turn out yesterday to negate any chances a possession-based Wellington might have had of dictating terms.

It is obviously a battle of styles and those who fail to adapt this winter will be doomed - no doubt, something Temple would have taken note of in his lesson plans for his charges in their formative years.

"I think the credit must go to them. I think they're a very bright side, talented young players who, when in possession, can really hurt you so it was our tactics to try to stop them from playing," Rovers player/coach Bill Robertson said.


Robertson said his men pressed the opposition quite high, starving them of possession.

"When we got the ball we also caused them some problems as well, so it was our most complete performance of the season," he said, reiterating what he had said in his post-match speech in the clubrooms.

He played down the impact of steady rain in the first half that had created patches of surface water. Instead, he lauded his players for curtailing Wellington's attempt to stamp any authority on the game.

Robertson reflected on how they had sat too deep against Suburbs, something videotape footage had endorsed.

"We stopped them [Wellington] from playing so I think our out-of-possession work was really strong and I'm pleased with the application from my boys on that side.

"I also felt that in possession we caused them a few problems to score some goals. We had some good chances and could have scored more so I'd like to have been more clinical."

However, he reconciled that with a three-point gap over second-placed Stop Out on the table.