He drove a 25m forget-me-not into the roof of the net in the 64th minute of the last round that Blues faithful are likely to savour for some time but midfielder Gavin Hoy's vacant laughter is an endorsement their first loss this season has taken some sheen off it.

"The mood itself has been quite positive because we still believe in ourselves as a team and our ability to win," says Hoy, when asked how the Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers players are feeling after their three-minute-added-time 3-2 loss to the Western Suburbs at Park Island, Napier, last Sunday which broke their five-match unbeaten run dating back to a good part of last winter when they had claimed the Central League bragging rights.

"We've had a bit of a slip up and now — obviously when you've won five in a row you feel confident — we don't want to just rely on that because we haven't accomplished anything yet," says the 26-year-old Canadian import before they kick off against Miramar Rangers in round seven at David Farrington Park, Wellington, at 2.30pm today.

No doubt, coach Bill Robertson, got stuck into them at training nights this week, which the table-topping campaigners appreciated, as the energy levels soared.


"We're definitely confident right now and eager to get back on the pitch after the loss, and feeling hard done by," says Hoy, accepting every purple patch comes to an end sooner or later.

If anything, the distraught faces at Bluewater Stadium were a testimony to how much captain Fergus Neil and his men care about the game even though they have maintained their top-run perch.

"It's been a problem for us all year," he says. "Once we're ahead we just relax, don't go for the throat and just dick around until the game's over."

Western Suburbs turning the table on them has come as a wake-up call for a side guilty of finding winners in the dying minutes.

"It's not a trait we'd like and have the games sewn up early and not having to worry about scoring in the last couple of minutes but, again, it's a good thing to have because we prefer to win the games in the last minute than not win at all," he says, adding protecting a healthy lead is ideal but, when push comes to shove a win is a win.

They have parked on the back of their mind the urgency to ensure they don't let the energy and intensity fall because anything otherwise will lead to a similar punishment.

Acknowledging the Ole Academy boys deserve some plaudits for plotting their demise still doesn't come easy amid a sweeping clearance from Hoy that every team in the league is a threat.

"In Central League it's a finer quality where any team can hurt us," says the midfielder, who is happy to slot into any position but prefers an attacking role. "I think Western Suburbs didn't necessarily do anything to pick us apart or expose us."

Rovers midfielder Gavin Hoy (left) joins in a group hug to celebrate the goal of striker Martin Bueno (facing camera) against Western Suburbs in Napier last Sunday. Photo/Paul Taylor
Rovers midfielder Gavin Hoy (left) joins in a group hug to celebrate the goal of striker Martin Bueno (facing camera) against Western Suburbs in Napier last Sunday. Photo/Paul Taylor

The goals the Rovers had conceded, he feels, lend more to errors on their part, including an own goal from Neil.

"They were preventable goals and we didn't do anything to prevent them because there was any real, real quality from them where we can say there was nothing we could have done."

That sense of mutual respect, though, is extended to all, including Miramar sitting eighth on the 10-team table with a win and a draw.

He notes Rangers will have their Team Wellington players back, including Hastings-born ex-Rover Angus Kilkolly, after bowing out of the O-League last Sunday.

Hoy arrived in the Bay after plying his trade with the now defunct Team Taranaki when his three-year visa had expired in Australia.

"I was holidaying in Bali so I was going to finish my season [in Australia] on a three-month holiday so instead I had an opportunity to play for Team Taranaki in the Central League."

The bloke from Ontario, who was playing for Olympic Warrior in Tasmania, doesn't know what his plans are this summer because he hasn't heard from Bay United yet.

He loves the Kiwi culture and has relished the brand of game here, too.

Hoy suspects Robertson puts a lot of faith in him to be an integral part of the engine room so, consequently, that fuels the confidence of player who hails from the city of Thunder Bay where his mother, Ruby van Bendegem, and father, Don Hoy, a geologist, live.

"I should conduct myself a little bit more with shots , which is something I don't often do, really," he says. "But I'm starting to score some goals now, which is good release, so maybe I'll back myself a little bit more."

Last Sunday he bagged his fourth goal of the season.

Not one to look too much into the future, Hoy isn't sure what he'll do next summer with no feedback from Bay United.

"Hawke's Bay United's future is still uncertain at this point so I'd just like to see how things pan out but I'm quite happy here and I was quite happy with Hawke's Bay [United] so if that's the right option and all works out then I'll definitely consider staying, for sure."

Hoy grew up playing the game as a youngster but also embrace myriad codes in school, including ice hockey, basketball, baseball and American football.

"Soccer was the cheapest to play competitively and when I graduated from high school I chose to play it at university rather than American football," he explains of the scholarship at Oakland University in Michigan where he graduated with a degree in science in business management as well as a minor in operations management.

"I've no regrets with the sport I chose but I would have gone with a different degree at university," he says, in hindsight opting for something "I'm more passionate about".

"What it is? I still don't know because I went to university to play soccer ... "

Hoy reckons there's no chance he'll pursue a career in his qualifications but at this stage has no ambitions job wise.

"I don't know what I want to do," he says. "I want to be fulfilled to make a difference so I'll let time show me."