With a proud history of tasting knockout success in 1957-58, all the speculation was about whether Seatoun FC were going to growl, never mind pack a bite, against Napier City Rovers during their Chatham Cup encounter today.

And, man, did the third-tier Capital One side from Wellington get their hackles up despite going down 3-1 to four-time champions Rovers in the fourth-round clash at Bluewater Stadium, Park Island.

Down 2-1 at halftime, Seatoun earned the respect of the Thirsty Whale-sponsored Blues when assistant coach Stu James rolled out Andrew Abba, back from Solomon Island international duties, in the second half to add some impetus to the coal face for the overwhelming favourites.

If the appraisal was going to be based purely on heart then there's no arguing Seatoun, who sit 21 league places below the Blues, would have walked away winners but therein lies the demands of knockout football and the hosts didn't stutter.

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"They played hard and definitely made it difficult for us but we knew they had beaten teams in higher positions coming into this game," said Blues defender James Hoyle.

Hoyle said the Rovers had dominated although James Hill-skippered Seatoun had made it difficult for them in the latter stage of the first spell.

"If we had put away more chances we could have made it more convincing," said the 23-year-old who was in the 2015 cup final, even chastising himself for not scoring but lauding former Rovers goal keeper Scott Dunn for keeping them at bay.

"They worked much harder than us, forcing us into making mistakes to making it a tough game."

The visitors had the first roll of the dice to go up against the Central League defending champions when striker Markus Gustavsson ran down the left flank to cut back in but his shot drifted just wide off the upright at the hockey turf end of the stadium in the fifth minute.

That stung the hosts into action with Jonny McNamara picking up the ball on the edge of the 18m box, after a pass from right wing Jamie Wilkinson, before taking a couple of deft touches to plant the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute.

McNamara, who hobbled off injured late in the second half, latched on to a through ball from the rib of the park to thread it into the box before sneaking it past Dunn for a 2-0 lead in the 12th minute.

Blues striker Jonny McNamara scored a brace for Rovers before hobbling off injured in the second half during the Chatham Cup match against Seatoun in Napier today. Photo / Ian Cooper
Blues striker Jonny McNamara scored a brace for Rovers before hobbling off injured in the second half during the Chatham Cup match against Seatoun in Napier today. Photo / Ian Cooper

It could have been another goal for the Rovers but referee Martin Roil disallowed it when schoolboy assistant referee Shea Hughes raised his flag for an offside on Martin Bueno in the 23rd minute.

Seatoun co-coach David Capstick, attired in a suit and club tie, was left venting his spleen when Rovers player/coach Bill Robertson got away with an inadvertent trip on Matthew Townsend that Roil should have deemed a free kick in the 29th minute.

However, Gustavsson smashed a shot into the roof of the net, leaving Blues gloveman Kyle Baxter motionless after a deft one-two leading up to the 2-1 deficit in the 32nd minute.

A studs-up tackle from leftback Hoyle on Marc Capstick in the 35th minute only riled up Seatoun who got back in the attacking third three minutes later but Townsend miscued the ball wide off the right upright.

Hoyle came close to boosting the margin in the 41st minute but Dunn, after denying two attempts earlier in his compound, got up to find his post at the near upright.

It was Baxter's turn to frustrate as he saved a shot from Gustavsson in the 43rd minute but Dunn raised the stakes at the other end to beat the count twice to deny Blues midfielder Gavin Hoy just before halftime.

Abba made it 3-1 when he curled in a pile driver from an oblique angle near the main grandstand end of the hockey end of the park to catch a deflection of a random body to leave Dunn stranded in the 50th minute.

Seatoun midfielder Karl Romijn, who has done his dash around the Central League block in the capital city over the years, picked up the first yellow card for a rash challenge in the 58th minute just before Bueno joined the club after accidentally clipping Romijn for some blood on the nose.

James then replaced last year's golden boot and this winter's front runner, Bueno, with veteran Joshua Stevenson in the 64th minute.

The next few minutes saw both sides executing silly tackles to cough up free kicks.

Townsend robbed midfielder Karan Mandair of a goal almost on the line in the 78th minute before teenager Kaeden Atkins thwarted Gustavsson five minutes later at the other end.

That, my friends, is why cup footy will always have the edge on league encounters.

Capstick, who shares the role with younger brother/player Marc, said had they started the game 15 minutes in they would have been 1-all and the game would have had a different complexion.

"We probably gave Napier too much respect but when we showed what we can do it was 1-all after that," said the 36-year-old builder revealing they would have found the net five times in the Capital One league with the number of chances they had created today.

Either the quality of the Blues or their shortcomings in front of the goalmouth had turned it into a different game.

Former Napier City Rovers goalkeeper Scott Dunn makes a save for Seatoun FC as Blues player/coach Bill Robertson anticipates for a spill in Napier today. Photo / Ian Cooper
Former Napier City Rovers goalkeeper Scott Dunn makes a save for Seatoun FC as Blues player/coach Bill Robertson anticipates for a spill in Napier today. Photo / Ian Cooper

Capstick named Dunn their man of the match because had it not been for his saves they would have been four goals down early.

"We wanted to put the stake on the ground to say we're much better than Cap One so to do what we did against the Central League [contenders] it shows we are way much better," he said, revealing Seatoun had won the Capital Two league last winter and should they become champions this season they would fancy a Premier League campaign.

The Rovers return to the league when they face Stop Out Sports Club and Wairarapa United on the road in the next two Saturdays before hosting Wellington United at home on Sunday, July 14, in a 2pm kick off.