• Rovers dealt cruel blow in capital

Rovers dealt cruel blow in capital

It was a cruel loss but it also showed how close Napier City Rovers are to the top two teams in the Central League football competition.

Third placed Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers were beaten 2-1 by second placed Wellington Olympic in their fifth round clash at Wakefield Park in the capital yesterday. Rovers led 1-0 until former Hawke's Bay United and Wellington Phoenix forward Hamish Watson scored in the 85th and 90th minutes.

Veteran striker Josh Stevenson scored for Rovers in the fourth minute. Stevenson has scored three goals in his last two matches.

In-form Rovers wing-forward Ben Wade was forced from the field in the 10th minute and replaced by Ethan Ladd. However the visitors continued to apply plenty of pressure and another of their in-form forwards, Kailan Gould, missed three chances to increase the Blues lead before the halftime whistle blew.

Sixteen-year-old Rovers keeper Oscar Mason will remember his fantastic save of a penalty attempt from Watson in the first half for a long time.

The Rovers coaching staff of Bill Robertson and Jonathan Gould were forced to make another injury-related change early in the second half when the versatile Zac Madsen (pictured above) was replaced by 17-year-old Luca Barclay.

Despite these changes Olympic were unable to put the ball into the net. Then when the hosts were reduced to 10 men with 10 minutes remaining there was a serious chance of the Blues securing second place on the table.

But Watson dashed those hopes. His first goal was fired in from 17 metres out despite calls for offside from the Rovers bench.

Watson's second goal came courtesy of a nasty deflection off Rovers captain and defender Jim Hoyle. Olympic keeper Scott Basalaj made a spectacular save to prevent an equaliser from the final kick of the game.

Rovers are scheduled to travel back to the capital next Saturday to take on Lower Hutt City from 3pm at Fraser Park.