From the moment veteran playmaker Wiremu Patrick netted his second goal, just seven minutes into yesterday's clash with YoungHeart Manawatu, Team Wellington were never going to be beaten.
Manawatu had some good periods, but Wellington went on with the job to finish convincing 6-0 winners.
The frustration was that down at Christchurch's English Park, Canterbury United were doing a similar number on Waikato FC.
So having started the round six points adrift of fourth-placed Canterbury that's exactly where Wellington finished it.
They have a game in hand over Canterbury but, with just four of their own left, six points remains a lot to make up with Otago United, Hawke's Bay United and Auckland City (twice) left to play.
As beaten grand finalists a year ago, not even making the semifinals would be a major disappointment for Wellington.
In the meantime all they can do is win and if other results fail to go their way, then that's too bad.
A second-minute penalty got things under way at Memorial Park yesterday.
Patrick easily slotted the shot past goalkeeper Matt Borren, before following up on his own shot to score five minutes later.
Borren parried Patrick's first effort but only straight back into the midfielder's path.
By halftime it was 4-0, thanks to goals by Dominic and Luke Rowe.
The second was a beautiful freekick, curled over the wall and into Borren's net.
Second half substitute Hamish Watson completed the scoring by bagging a late brace.
Elsewhere Waitakere United beat Auckland 3-2, Hawke's Bay were 3-1 winners over Otago and Canterbury thumped Waikato 4-0.
- The Dominion Post
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