As the boys in blue and gold bounced around like Masai warriors chanting "champion", coach Chris Greatholder's beaming smile masked a sense of composure.

Havelock North Wanderers are having a season to cherish and remember - the Lotto Central Federation League crown on their heads with two rounds to play - after beating last-placed Massey Men's First 5-2 at Guthrie Park in the village on Saturday.

But as Greatholder slipped on a shirt for a lower grade to have his weekly workout and fix from soccer, he quietly expressed the desire to keep the rub of the green with the Wanderers.

It's not a boom or bust moment for the club but more a measured moment of what they can achieve if they beat Capital Football equivalent champions Waterside Karori home and away in a two-match series on September 2 and September 9 in a bid to gain promotion to the top-tier Lotto Central League.


"We've got a couple of weeks, I suppose, to get better at what we do to put ourselves in the best possible position to win the games," said Greatholder circumspectly.

"We've played okay today and we've played better throughout the season but it was about getting the points today so we'll cross that one off.

"At that level we'll have to be better than that."

For Greatholder and assistant Bruce Barclay, it has been a rewarding winter because they're a good bunch of lads who have lent their mentors their ears and genuinely made the effort to grow.

"They have tried new things and created new ways of playing and ideas so I'm really pleased for them."

Greatholder lauded the demeanour of his troops who are receptive to coaching on the "cool, little journey".

Just as he had done on Saturday, the former Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United player/coach intends to experiment with players in different positions in moulding a template that would hold Waterside Karori accountable.

Captain Bjorn Christensen scored a hattrick of goals but the hosts didn't have it all their way despite the visitors from Palmerston North going down to 10 men in just the 25th minute after losing striker Ismael Mimbi to two yellow cards.

Mimbi deserved the first card after he hacked a player down late but the second one perhaps warranted a caution from Bay referee Gordon Harris because Christensen was guilty of driving into his back as well when the Massey player found himself sandwiched between two yellow shirts in a tussle for possession from a throw-in ball.

However, an aggressive player, Mimbi should have known better and kept out of contentious situations after picking his first yellow card.

Striker Shannon Fowler and wingers Liam Shackleton and Jackson Ralph scored the other three goals while Taran Bublitz and Luke Bryenton found the net in the second half for the Blues.

Should the Wanderers succeed against Karori, they will join Conroy Removals Napier City Rovers as the second campaigners from the Bay in almost a decade.

"They won the games that mattered so congratulations to Chris and the boys," Massey coach Don Piper said.

He lamented losing Mimbi so early but felt his troops fought gallantly regardless.

"We pushed Havelock right to the end so I was proud of the attitude my boys showed," he said.

The experience would serve his players well in their quest to lift the title.