Asked if he wanted to say anything, North End captain Nathan Cooksley shook his head and quipped "nah", as he trudged off the field with his dejected troops in Hastings today.

Veteran Cooksley, who has been around the block a few times, had made a wise decision despite a few cheap chirps from his teammates to make themselves feel better in a game where the mercy rule card should have been played.

Frankly, it'll take a lot of soul searching and a few days to erase that unsavoury taste of a 6-0 hiding the Building King Havelock North Wanderers had left in the mouths of the Palmerston North side at Guthrie Park in round one of the Chatham Cup match.

Yet again, it was more proof the villagers, who dared to invest in their youth akin to what Napier Marist Club have been doing in the past few years, are reaping the rewards of foresight.

Advertisement

Cooksley's club, akin to a few others in the Central Federation League, should take a leaf out of the Bay clubs' sense of sacrifice and commitment to see what it takes to be where the movers and shakers are today and will be tomorrow.

Regrettably, North End are making up numbers in the Fed League so entering the national knockout competition raises questions on why some players — weekend warriors at best — are still on the field and their youth warming the benches. As cruel as it sounds, the physical shape and fitness of some of the visiting players suggested the game was going to be farcical even before the midday kick off.

However, today's story was always going to be about the hosts who were up only 1-0 at halftime after Kenny Willox poked the ball past North End goalkeeper David Luke in just the sixth minute.

Regardless of all the cohesiveness and silky touches the young and restless - under the tutelage of player/coach Chris Greatholder and his assistant, Dion Adams - displayed today Jack Parker perhaps personifies best what it means to play in the most elite cup match.

"I banged in a couple so it was good to do that on my debut in the Chatham Cup," said Parker who came off the bench in the 69th minute for Tesco-Frederick Grunwald at the coal face to claim a brace — chipping one over Luke's head from a tight angle in the 72nd minute to extend the lead to 4-0 before heading in another goal from an incisive cross from Bjorn Christensen two minutes later.

The grinning 17-year-old from Hastings Boys' High School admitted he was sitting on the sidelines wondering if he was going to run on to the park at all.

In fact, the year 13 pupil had at least three great opportunities to claim a hattrick but it was not to be although he emphasised the team victory overrode any individual accolades.

Parker, who has yet to start for the Wanderers, said he moved up from the Hawke's Bay premiership level only a fortnight ago and was delighted with how his Fed teammates had made him feel so welcome.

"I'll just keep taking my chances as they come," the teenager said.

The floodgates had opened not long after halftime, significantly with Greatholder coming into the midfield for South African import Tyrique Mohidin when play resumed.

The Jerome Groot-captained Wanderers had, at times, lacked the decisive passes in the first half although the finishing wasn't clinical either.

Christensen made good a pass from right back James Barclay for a tap-in goal about 5m in front of the goalmouth, after some sloppy clearances from North End, to make it 2-0 in the 58th minute.

Greatholder showed why his composure is required every now and then when he deposited a deft pass from Grunwald at the far post to extend the lead to 3-0 in the 67th minute.

But the veteran had lost his composure a little when he broke out into celebrations for his brace although it was a sexy flop-wedge like chip that had reduced keeper Luke to a mere spectator, for the final nail in the coffin.

Player/coach Chris Greatholder injected some impetus off the bench in the second half but also got a little carried away with celebrations after scoring a brace of goals. Photo/Paul Taylor
Player/coach Chris Greatholder injected some impetus off the bench in the second half but also got a little carried away with celebrations after scoring a brace of goals. Photo/Paul Taylor

Referee Ben Eeles did a superb job, rightly flashing a yellow card at North End's Ishmael Mimbi for a second reckless challenge in the 28th minute after the striker ignored repeated warnings.

Fortunately the game didn't deteriorate with Havelock North showing some character in not letting North End lure them into the physicality stakes despite the villagers conceding free kicks on some of their own challenges.

Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers progressed to round two as well but didn't have it all their way after Palmerston North Marist took them into extra time at Memorial Park for the 4-2 victory in a 2pm kick off.

The Fergus Neil-skippered Blues led 2-1 at halftime against the Fed League defending champions but a 92nd-minute penalty kick to Nick Carrick, after referee Anthony Riley pointed to the spot from a ball-to-hand incident, had the hosts locked at 2-all.

Canadian import Patryk Misik opened the visitors' account in just the sixth minute but Corbyn Charles equalised 1-1 in the 21st minute.

However, Jonny McNamara had nudged the Rovers ahead in the 37th minute.

It was Englishman McNamara's brace that gave the Blues a 3-2 lead in the 111th minute before Central League golden boot Martin Bueno, of Uruguay, sealed the hosts' fate midway through the second half of the extra spell.

"It was a close game but we were a little bit wasteful in the chances we had created but their goalkeeper had a superb afternoon and made a number of very good saves so he kind of kept them in the game," Rovers coach Bill Robertson said of Liam Outtrim who had denied the visitors several one-on-one chances.

Robertson said Palmy North Marist tended to sit back deep to post 11 players behind the ball at times to frustrate the Blues in playing football.

"It was a difficult afternoon but it wouldn't have been had we taken more of our chances," he lamented.

Havelock North Wanderers teenager Jack Parker can only watch as North End goalkeeper David Luke denies him a hattrick at Guthrie Park in Hastings today. Photo/Paul Taylor
Havelock North Wanderers teenager Jack Parker can only watch as North End goalkeeper David Luke denies him a hattrick at Guthrie Park in Hastings today. Photo/Paul Taylor

Robertson said the hosts were motivated, as teams did when they competed in the knockout competition, considering the Rovers were the defending champions of the most elite winter league and hailed from a high-profile club in the country.

He felt the Blues still had work to do to polish their finishes but, overall, the visitors were still dominant and deserved their victory.

Palmy North club chairman and life member Jason Flynn said in keeping with cup tradition the home side had given the Rovers a decent fright.

"We have had a lot of games against Napier City Rovers and drawn them regularly in the cup and we had upset them in 2013 as well so they [hosts] always have to believe they are capable," Flynn said.

He said opportunities always presented themselves to topple the big boys, especially from Central League, to prove the Fed League contenders could fulfil their aspirations to return to the elite winter competition.

Manawatu are on the drive to have representation in Central League and Palmy North Marist are their flagship contenders although Havelock North have beaten them this season in the Fed League.

"These sorts of games give us a good idea of where we sit," Flynn said.

Jonathan McNamara (foreground) scored a brace of goals to ensure Napier City Rovers got through to the second round of the Chatham Cup today. Photo/file
Jonathan McNamara (foreground) scored a brace of goals to ensure Napier City Rovers got through to the second round of the Chatham Cup today. Photo/file

Alexander Electrical Napier Marist play New Plymouth Rangers on the road in another battle of two Fed League sides in a midday kick off tomorrow.