Feilding United's clash with Havelock North at Timona Park on Saturday had a red glow to it with three men given their marching orders.
All three shown red cards were from Feilding, including captain Carne Groombridge.
Referee David Lawrie, Central Football's referee development officer, also booked another two Feilding players, Samuel Townsend and Thomas Bliss-Bennett.
As an aside, Havelock North won the Federation League match 2-0 through two second-half goals. The first came when Feilding were down to 10 men, the second when they only had eight on the field, at which point coach Jeff Gleave wondered if he should have had his team walk off.
"It was a disgrace," he said. "We had only had three players booked all year."
He said the dismissals happened in 10 minutes in the middle of the second half. First to go was Aaron Richardson for a sprigs-up tackle, then Jordan Gleave for apparently saying "that fellow's a cheat", claiming he said it to a team-mate.
Groombridge had been booked in the first half and was shown red for apparent abusive language.
All are likely to incur automatic suspensions.
In the first spell, Feilding had come close to scoring, hitting the post as they did soon after halftime. Gleave also claimed the game was called off six minutes early. Lawrie could not be contacted for comment.
On a more positive note, Palmerston North Marist's strikers were dialled in during their 5-1 win over bottom Central League side, Upper Hutt City, on the artificial pitch at Maidstone Park on Saturday.
The win moved Marist up to fifth after three goals by Jerram Tuck and two from Tomas Mosquera, and there could have been more.
"It all started to click," said coach Simon Lees. "The boys are starting to believe they are as good as we know they are."
He would love to have such a pitch in Palmerston North.
On the right, Jono Steele got through a ton of work until he went off injured. On the left, with captain Mikey Crisford away ill, last year's Palmerston North Boys' High School player Ashish Sayaham stepped in brilliantly.
A goal 20 seconds after halftime was perfect timing just as Upper Hutt had been getting into the game. That took Marist to 3-1.
Next week Marist host Napier City Rovers at Memorial Park.
Back in the Federation League, North End beat Red Sox-Manawatu 3-1 in a tight game on what North End coach Garry Hodge described as an "atrocious field not up to standard" at Skoglund Park.
North End took the lead only for Red Sox to equalise before halftime through Michael Hilson. Both had chances to score more, but neither took them.
Two goals within five minutes of each other in the middle of the second spell sealed it.
It was difficult for both teams because of the state of the pitch and length of the grass. North End's scorers were Lee Ratcliffe, man-of-the-match David Boyack and Congolese lad Kenel Moutthys.
It was North End's first game in two weeks after Napier Marist defaulted their Chatham Cup fixture last weekend.
The Boys' High first XI nailed their second Federation League win of the season, 3-1 over Marist Reserves at Ashhurst Domain.
Their other win had been 6-0 over Feilding at the start of the season.
Sean Liddicoat scored two goals from penalties, from clumsy fouls in the box, and Jack Gleeson got the other. They led 2-1 at halftime after a lacklustre first half while Marist scored with a header from a cross.
Boys' High had a lot of ball and chances and their third goal came early in the second half. Their best were Liddicoat, midfielder Rhys Janes and defenders Joe Craven and Jade Ashford-Thompson.
- Manawatu Standard