Tech College Old Boys threw everything at MCOB right from the get-go at the Gonville Domain on Saturday afternoon, and that was the problem.
Playing an up-tempo style with long breakaways down the wings instead of consolidating and letting the ball do some of the work, TCOB scored the opening goal but by the second half were like boxers who had punched themselves out, as the visitors found another gear to score twice more for a 3-1 win.
It was the match that got away as their beatable opposition claimed just their second win in six games in the Manawatu Premier Men's competion to move clear of TCOB (1-1-4), who now only have the winless Palmerston North Boys High team below them as neighbours on the bottom of the table.
"The wheels fell off, we ran out of legs, it was that simple," said senior player Calum Wilbur.
"If our midfield can't out work the opposition, we don't have a hope in hell at the moment. Not fit enough."
Captain Chad Warner got an early goal after latching onto a smash into the defensive area, following a long burst by Lee Moir down the right wing to get them back down onto attack.
Tyler Nicoll-Hylton likewise went on a series of surges, with the MCOB defenders shadowing him into the corner to force the pass.
Against the run of play, the visitor's reply goal came almost immediately as they showed it's not just about the bust, with a forward faking a shot to clear one defender and then firing his pass to a team mate right on the TCOB post to deflect and score.
"Some people went to sleep when we scored. [MCOB] went from one end to the other in ten seconds," said Wilbur.
TCOB got a couple of penalties to get back on attack but the passes were intercepted, while Moir had a reverse flick chance that just missed.
Josh McDonnell made a nice turnover on defence, but MCOB still looked fresh even if they had spent the half being reactive to TCOB's pace.
And that pace told in the second half as MCOB had more control – scoring from another breakaway and then a smash of their own into the TCOB circle where the defenders got in their own way.
"We tried to run the ball too much," said Wilbur.
"Late in the game it led to turnovers, instead of beating the man."
The issue was TCOB did not have any better fortune when they tried to let the ball do the work
"The amount of 5m passes that went anywhere but where intended was shocking," said Wilbur.
"We hope we can play a whole game before the end of the season."
TCOB will now head to the Twin Turfs to face the Marist Wolverines, who beat them 5-1 on April 21.
They will have to do without veteran Craig Ritani, who injured his hamstring when diving to win back possession after a long chase.
In the Premier Reserve Women's competition, Whanganui had to surrender their lead of the competition while on their bye week, as Athletic hammered College Social 12-0 on Saturday to move ahead of them on points and differential.
Whanganui will host Massey B at the Gonville Domain at 1.30pm.