The Hawke's Bay flag fliers have stamped their supremacy on the senior men's second-tier Central Federation League after victories last weekend.
Undefeated Building King Havelock North Wanderers walloped Massey University FC 10-0 while Alexander Electric Napier Marist FC pipped Wanganui Athletic 1-0 in games on the road on Saturday.
The villagers, who have played one game fewer, are perched on the top rung by virtue of what appears now to be an unassailable goal difference of 27 to Napier Marist's 11 as they both have 18 points after six rounds of matches.
The 11-team league has, more or less, become a two-horse race after North End edged out defending champions Palmerston North Marist 4-3 in the Manawatu derby on Saturday.
All the bottom six teams have registered one win, bar No 6 Wanganui City FC who have two.
The Bay sides, who will play in the second round of the Chatham Cup (national knockout competition) this long weekend, must make most of the other oppositions to harden up as the champions for a chance to progress to the playoffs against the Capital Football Premier League champions to see who will hang tough in the premier winter league in the two regions, the Central League.
The Federation League will have a recess this long weekend although Napier Marist have a bye while Havelock North host Palmerston North Boys' High School first XI at Guthrie Park when they return in a fortnight.
"It's the first time we've put two 45-minute spells together," said Wanderers coach Chris Greatholder after his side were 5-0 up at halftime. "I wanted them to start to be more ruthless because we've let some teams off in the past."
Jack Parker and BJ Christensen claimed a hat-trick each but it came at a price for the side after the former broke his collarbone in what Greatholder considered to be a "bad challenge" from the Massey goalkeeper after the teenager, in his debut season, scored his goals in the first 25 minutes.
"I reckon Jack would have score up to seven or eight goals if he had stayed on," the coach lamented.
Jared Bloor scored a brace while Tesco Grunwald and Jerome Groot got one each.
At Wembley Park in Whanganui, Luis Toomey claimed the only goal a minute into referee Danial Gallo's extra minute at the end of first half for the Jamie Dunning-coached Napier Marist.
However, Gallo dished out seven yellow cards in the match, starting with Wanganui Athletic defender Peter Czerwonka in the eighth minute and finishing with host player Shaan Stuart in two minutes of final added time. Defender Shaan Stuart picked one up in the 31st minute.
Mustafa Can (35th), Yeshnil Naiker (58th), Harry Mason and Toomey (both 85th) were the transgressors for the visitors for offences including unsporting behaviour, reckless fouls, "dissent by word", breaking up promising opposition attacks and a delaying the restart of play.
■ Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers have lost their top-rung perch after Western Suburbs beat Stop Out Sports Club 3-0 in Wellington yesterday.
Suburbs, who beat defending champions Blues 3-2 late last month, are the only unbeaten side in the Central League with two draws.