They scored their first goals last weekend and today the Havelock North Wanderers claimed their first points when they thrashed Wairarapa United in Hastings.

The Building King-sponsored Havelock North thumped the fifth-placed soccer powerhouses 6-2 at a sun-drenched Guthrie Park in the village with new Solomon Island import striker Gagame Feni making it a memorable moment with a hattrick of goals to punctuate the victors' first three points in the premier winter league this season.

The Wanderers went into halftime 2-1 up in round five of the Ultra Football Central League match.

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Right winger Liam Shackleton chipped one in from his flank in the fifth minute, then in the 16th minute player/coach Chris Greatholder drilled a ball past Wairarapa goal keeper Alexander Britton after a crisp cross on the left flank from Gagame Feni.

Wairarapa player/coach Paul Ifill pulled one back in the 34th minute from about 30m out on the right flank after the Wanderers defenders were guilty of gifting the former Wellington Phoenix star too much time and space to unleash a shot.

The frustration had set in for the visitors well before Ifill's goal when Wairarapa centre-mid Taylor Hall-Jones vented his spleen after Feni's compatriot, Ian Paia, came close to scoring in the 23rd minute.

"What are you doing?" Hall-Jones hollered at the defenders. "Come on, we're better than that."

But the hosts were raiding the Wairarapa final third at will, with Feni and Paia creating havoc to find Shackleton with their turn of speed and mesmerising foot work to have defenders back pedalling.

Frankly, Havelock North should have been at least 4-1 up at the break but Feni, Paia, Greatholder and Shackleton just lacked that polished finish in the final touch.

The villagers went off the boil in the final 15 minutes of the first half with perhaps the balmy, windless day beginning to take its toll as they opted to sit back a little.

Ifill, who had held a brief discussion outside the changing room with Wairarapa United stalwart Phil Keinzley at halftime, didn't mince words at the final whistle.


"We have no excuses. We just weren't good enough on the day. They just wanted it a little bit more, I think," he said.

Choosing his words carefully, Ifill said he wouldn't take many of the Wanderers into his team on ability but on work rate and work ethics he would have taken the whole bang lot of them.

"They got what they deserved. We need to talk about it because we just didn't work hard enough ... we have plenty of ability in our squad, so I don't know what the reason for it was."

Ifill suspected his troops were guilty of complacency against the winless hosts after beating Wellington United 3-2 in the previous round.

Had Wairarapa gone ahead, he felt it would have been a different result but it was not to be.

Havelock North Wanderers celebrate Gagame Feni's goal against Wairarapa United at Guthrie Park in the village today. Photo/Warren Buckland
Havelock North Wanderers celebrate Gagame Feni's goal against Wairarapa United at Guthrie Park in the village today. Photo/Warren Buckland

"I'm pleased for them. I'm a big fan of Chris Greatholder because he's a good guy and a good coach ... they were due a win and they've gone and done it in style today, so I don't want to take too much away from them.

"They deserved it today," he said.

It was Wairarapa who had struck next after halftime to level the score at 2-2 when play resumed. Barbados import Shakille Belle swooped on a Che Jesson-Bentley and Campbell Whitworth blunder, latching on to a speculator as the defenders looked at each other to see who had the long ball covered in the 51st minute.

Young Shackleton missed a gilt-edged chance three minutes later when he beat a defender and left keeper Britton for dead only to overstep the ball with the goalmouth gaping.

But Feni lifted the spirit of the blue-and-gold faithful when he stunned everyone with an oblique-angled freekick from about 25m out to seize the lead again, 3-2, in the 63rd minute. The ball sailed over the defensive wall before dipping into the far bottom corner.

It was ironic because two Wairarapa defenders had tried blatantly to hack him down as he threaded his way from the right flank but referee Anthony Riley had played advantage.

Ifill and former Hawke's Bay United striker Seule Soromon, a former Vanuatu international, tried to find the equaliser but the Wanderers defence stood strong.

Soromon, who perhaps sat back with the defenders in the first half in anticipation of the Solomon Island wizardry, had beaten Havelock North goalkeeper Nick Hayward to clip the crossbar in the 68th minute but it was Wanderers captain Ethan Dent who sank Wairarapa hearts with a goal in the 71st minute, extending the lead to 4-2.

Centre-mid Dent found all the time in the world to plant the ball into the left corner of the goal mouth from about 20m out in line with the left upright after a Feni cross from the right flank following a well-judged long ball from rightback Ben Foxall.

The visitors were still reeling from the onslaught when centre-mid Vinnie MacKirdy made good a feed from the left flank to find Feni, who volleyed the ball into the left corner of the net for a 5-2 lead.

The island striker's hattrick goal came three minutes on the referee's time, not long after he had clipped a shot over the cross bar on the regulation 90th minute, for a 6-2 result.

The win heralded the arrival of the Wanderers on to the Central League stage and perhaps killed any complacency from rivals who may have thought the Havelock North side would be easy beats this winter.

Hayward needed assistance to hobble off the park in the dying minutes after coming off second best in an aerial challenge from Soromon, but the Havelock North keeper had had a blinder, saving at least three goals with despairing dives and acrobatic catches.

Feni and Paia also brought immense joy to an army of fellow Solomon Island seasonal workers returning home after working in orchards in the Bay over the summer.

Solomon Island seasonal workers Donnie Ete (left) and David Lolea celebrate compariot Gagame Feni's hattrick of goals at Guthrie Park, Havelock North, today. Photo/Warren Buckland
Solomon Island seasonal workers Donnie Ete (left) and David Lolea celebrate compariot Gagame Feni's hattrick of goals at Guthrie Park, Havelock North, today. Photo/Warren Buckland

Havelock North travel to Wellington to face newly promoted Integration Works Waterside Karori in a 2.30pm kick off this Saturday in what will be a crucial match to avoid relegation at the end of the competition.

Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers pipped Stop Out 2-1 at Hutt Park this afternoon.

The Bill Robertson-coached Blues led 1-0 at halftime after Uruguyan import Martin Bueno scored in the 21st minute.

Captain Joshua Stevenson increased the lead to 2-0 in the 49th minute before the hosts found the net in the 73rd minute from their left winger.

The Rovers, who lost 2-1 to defending champions Western Suburbs in Napier last Sunday, host title contenders Wellington United in 2pm kick off at Bluewater Stadium, Park Island, this Sunday.

Wellington United beat Waterside Karori 5-3 today at Newtown Park while Suburbs thumped Wellington Olympic 3-0 at Endeavour Park.