From where coach Bill Robertson is standing today's shock loss at Karori Park, Wellington, was again another exhibit before the court to declare that anyone can beat anyone on their day in the region's premier winter league.

Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers succumbed to a shock 3-1 loss to Integrated Works Waterside Karori in round 10 of the Ultra Football Central League.

League leaders Blues trailed 1-0 at halftime and were 2-0 midway through the second half before league golden boot Martin Bueno, of Uruguay, pulled one back for the visitors in the 67th minute from a penalty kick.

Kyung Dung Kim opened the hosts' account in the 42nd minute, Tor Davenport extended the lead in the 61st minute before the Korean sealed the game 3-1 in the 71st minute.

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The result was a far cry from the 7-3 walloping the promoted hosts had received at Bluewater Stadium, Park Island, in the opening round of the league.

The emphatic victory lifts the Rupert Crump-coached Waterside Karori three points clear of last-placed Building King Havelock North Wanderers, who agonisingly stumbled 2-1 to Stop Out Sports Club in Hastings earlier today, to stave off relegation in ghe battle of survival for the two newcomers this season.

So what could possibly explain such a substantial turnaround in the second half of the premier winter league?

"We just didn't start the game very well. We were a little bit flat and we looked like we had heavy legs with obviously an early start in the bus for us again," said player/coach Robertson after the Rovers registered their second defeat this winter.

It was their first loss on the road after losing to defending champions Advanced Electrical Western Suburbs in Napier on April 22.

However, the James Hoyle-captained Blues maintain their perch on the top rung but their margin is now narrowed to two points — losing the five-point buffers before the kick off — above Stop Out in second place.

"We took a while to get into the game so we're disappointed in that," said Robertson but emphasised his troops had still created numerous chances but the opposition goalkeeper, Charles Morris, pulled off a few critical saves to claim the hosts' man-of-the-match award in the clubrooms.

"We had a couple of one-on-ones and we hit the crossbar ... so we certainly had more chances then they had but they took them a little better than we did," he lamented. "It certainly wasn't our best performance of the season."

The Rovers went into the game with 38 goals after nine rounds, averaging 4.2 a game.

"It's a very competitive league," he said, adding if the Wanderers had beaten Stop Out it would have given the Blues more breathing space.

However, there's no doubt relegation contenders Havelock North would be feeling the pain more.

Centreback Robertson quashed any suggestions that he had rested some of his marquee players with the round two Chatham Cup clash against Parapine ITM Upper Hutt City at Maidstone Park, Wellington, on Queen's Birthday Monday in a 2pm kick off this long weekend.

"We knew they [Karori] were a top team and should be around about where they are on the table but as the Central League tends to show, on any given day any team can beat any other team in a very competitive league."

It would be difficult to maintain their perch, he said, but they would do their utmost to stay there before they host Miramar Rangers at Park Island next Sunday.

However, the cup match on Monday against Capital Premier League side Upper Hutt has to be attended to first.