Whatever the reasons, Napier City Rovers made Wellington United look somewhat ordinary today.

The Thirsty Whale-sponsored Blues overwhelmed the Wellington Phoenix feeder club 3-0 but in reality the score flattered the visitors, who should have lost by at least a further three to four goals had the hosts' foragers brought their sensible shoes to the round six Ultra Football Central League match at Bluewater Stadium, Park Island.

With persistent rain well into the first half, it was hard to say if the game was of a similar ilk to the one the Rovers lost to Western Suburbs last Sunday but the surface water on the park would have certainly suited the Joshua Stevenson-captained hosts.

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Put another way, passages of direct play were perhaps better suited to the conditions than a pass-and-move one on a dry surface, although both sides should be commended for persevering, especially in the first half, as Rovers went into halftime up 2-0.

The much-anticipated fightback from the Wellington youngsters didn't transpire although that didn't detract from their ability to play an attractive brand of football in testing conditions.

Player/coach Bill Robertson and his troops played well for the collective cause but perhaps Martin Bueno should be singled out for scoring a brace as well as having two goals disallowed for offsides.

But a smiling Bueno didn't let the missed opportunities dampen his spirit for the table-topping Rovers.

"Whenever we win it's a good day no matter whether I have a good day or not so it's always about the team," said the lanky Uruguayan striker who hails from Ciudad de la Costa, a city which is considered an extension of the metropolitan area of Montevideo.

"Obviously I want to score for my personal performance but when the team wins and we keep going the way we are we will score more goals," he said in Spanish, which Rovers goalkeeper Ruben Parker Hanks translated into English.

The 26-year-old said the Rovers didn't think the weather was too much of a factor but they had approached the game differently from the way they had played the losing match against defending champions Advanced Electrical Western Suburbs.

Bueno, who is adjusting to the league here, scored in the 14th minute from a recycled cornerkick but the referee's assistant, Liam O'Rourke, had his flag up for an offside.


Five minutes later Bueno missed a 5m sitter just inside the left upright, skewing the ball way above the crossbar after a well-judged cross from Canadian winger Wesley Cain from the left flank.

Rovers rightback Jamie Wilkinson collected a yellow card for a sliding tackle on the left edge of the 18m box but Wellington didn't profit from the ensuing freekick.

The hosts broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute from Japan import Sho Goto after he received a pass from Cain on the right flank, took a touch, cut it inside the box to beat a defender and then took another on to drill the ball under goalkeeper Zac Jones for a 1-0 lead.

Wellington United came close to equalising in the 38th minute when Benjamin Waine had one-two passes before Maximilian Batchelor received the pass about 7m in front of the goalmouth, swivelled then curled the ball centimetres outside the right upright on the Napier City end of the park.

But it was the Rovers who struck at the other end two minutes later to extend the lead to 2-0.

Cain again added quality to the ball when he took two deft touches to put defenders in two minds on the right flank before rifling it from an oblique angle to the left upright. The ball appeared to be going in but Bueno made sure of it from point-blank range to ignite another Blues' celebration.

True to the forecast, the rain completely subsided when the second half resumed to enable both sides to play with shorter, crisp passes.

Bueno scored again in the 51st minute but this time the referee's assistant on the open grandstand side of the park, Sean Hughes, had his flag up for an offside.

Unhappy with the shape up front, Wellington United coach Paul Temple went to his bench to inject English import Adam Hillis in place of Batchelor in the 57th minute.

Two minutes later, Wellington striker Willem Bellinge came close to curling the ball into the top left corner of the goal over a wall from a freekick but referee Mark Rule blew up for a reset. However, the ensuing wormburner came off the wall and the reloads only found Blues' bodies in the 18m box.

Temple still wasn't happy, this time opting for a double substitution with Oliver Valentine and Oskar van Hattum taking the field in place of defender Jake Williams and left winger Henry Hamilton in the 66th minute.

A few ooh and aah moments transpired on both ends of the park but the score remained intact.

The Blues gather for another group hug in the overwhelming 3-0 victory over Wellington United at Park Island, Napier, today. Photo / Paul Taylor
The Blues gather for another group hug in the overwhelming 3-0 victory over Wellington United at Park Island, Napier, today. Photo / Paul Taylor

That status quo changed when Canadian striker Patryk Misik drilled a ball that clipped a defender's foot before dropping into the goal mouth past keeper Jones for a 3-0 lead in the 71st minute.

Blues assistant Stu James withdrew Bueno and replaced him with teenager Zac Madsen in the 76th minute for their first change.

The biggest ooh came in the 90th minute when Cain curled a pass to Stevenson but keeper Jones was equal to the occasion of his volley, tipping it over the crossbar for what would have been a contender for best goal of the season.

It was a game of several missed opportunities.

However, for the Blues the midfield of Goto, Karan Mandair, Misik and Cain took control of the engine room with undeniable authority.

Robertson marshalled the backs well with Danny Wilson and English import Liam Schofield keeping the Orange foragers in check to the extent that Hanks only had to make a couple of crucial saves.

In other results yesterday, Integration Works Waterside Karori opened their account at home in the league with their maiden 4-1 victory over the Building Kings Havelock North Wanderers.

Miramar Rangers pipped Western Suburbs 1-0 while Lower Hutt City heaped more misery on Wairarapa United with a 5-2 result on the heels of the latter's 6-2 walloping at the hands of newbies Havelock North in Hastings on Anzac Day on Wednesday.

Stop Out thumped Wellington Olympic 7-2.

The Wanderers now host the Rovers on Sunday next week in the Hawke's Bay derby at Guthrie Park in the village in a 2pm kick off.