The Havelock North Wanderers juggernaut rolled on towards the promise of higher honours when they thrashed Wanganui Athletic today.
The Building King-sponsored Havelock team were up 2-0 at halftime before signing off a don't-argue 5-0 victory at Wembley Park, Wanganui, in round five of the Central Federation League.
Wanganui Athletic goalkeeper Matt Calvert was a pretty busy bloke from the word go after Tesco Grunwald slotted the ball past him for a 1-0 lead in just 50 seconds of the game.
The visitors went 2-0 ahead when Jared Bloor took on Calvert one-on-one in the 31st minute.
"We did outplay them but we had to weather a bit of a storm after we scored early because there was a bit of tussle for 30 minutes before we scored again," said player/coach Chris Greatholder of the undefeated Wanderers.
However, Greatholder said it was all Havelock North in the second half with slick movement and hustle that Wanganui Athletic had no answer for.
"Again we could have probably scored more at the end but I'm happy we came away with five goals and kept a clean sheet," he said, adding they had created more chances than the previous games.
But Grunwald wasn't done, treating the crowd to some individual brilliance after beating three Athletic defenders before slipping the ball past Calvert to make it 3-0.
The word is midfielder Bjorn Christensen curled a free kick around Wanganui Athletic's defensive wall to smack the top corner of the net to extend the lead to 4-0 in the 64th minute better than Lionel Messi did, before Liam Shackleton, latching on to a cross from Greatholder, put the hosts out of their misery in the 77th minute.
"It wasn't exactly Wembley Wembley but it was good — better than our [Guthrie Park] surface," said Greatholder.
The Wanderers, who were relegated from the Central League last year, have also beaten their strongest rivals Palmerston North Marist and are on track to qualify for the playoffs as they chase a return to the elite winter league in the Capital and Central regions at the end of the season.
"I know it's a bit of cliche, mate, but I don't to get too ahead of ourselves because we have a lot of stuff to do so we want to continue to get better," he said.
The Jerome Groot-captained Blue and Golds will now host fellow Fed League campaigners North End FC (Palmerston North) in round one of the Chatham Cup, the national knockout competition, in a midday kick off at the village next Saturday.
In other matches today, Palmerston North Boys' High School first XI pipped New Plymouth Rangers 4-3, Palmy North Marist edged out Massey University FC 2-1 while Wanganui City FC bounced back from their loss to the Wanderers last Saturday to beat Red Sox Manawatu 4-1.
Fourth-placed Alexander Electric Napier Marist kick off at 2pm against last-placed, win-less Hokowhitu firsts at the Bond Field, Park Island, tomorrow.