WEMBLEY Park proved to be a lush hunting ground for Wanganui City on Saturday, with Evolution Painting & Decorating Wanganui City surging back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to finish 3-2 winners over Feilding in the Lotto Federation League.
Meanwhile, the local derby fulfilled the promises of years gone past, with the City Reserves causing a massive 2-1 upset over Devon Homes Wanganui Athletic.
The City Renovators also bagged a valuable point after holding the resurgent Marist 3rds to a scoreless draw.
The day opened up with a bang, with the local derby match offering up a spectacle for the casual punter on the sidelines.
Athletic and the City Reserves were playing for more than competition points, with pride also on the line.
With rumours of a bloodbath at the hands of Athletic circulating the city last week, it was the underdogs who proved to be the side that wanted it more, as the Reserves put in a strong 90-minute shift to throw a spanner in the works for Athletics title hopes.
Reserves coach Karl Hayward was buoyant when spoken to after the match, brimming with pride for his team.
"They all played for each other out there. We wanted it more out there, and we scored more than they did. It was that simple."
The defeat plays havoc with Athletic's tilt at the Western Premiership title, again stumbling to a lower placed team where they should have bagged an easy victory.
The Reds will need to regroup this week and refocus if they're to continue with their title hopes.
The City Renovators battled well in their scoreless draw with the Marist 3rds, despite the fact they were facing the challenge with a bare 12 players, many of whom coach Tex von Kwiatowski deemed to be off their normal fitness levels.
Von Kwiatowski made special mention of his young goalkeeper Isaac Bell, lauding him for his brilliant performance between the posts, making many saves that kept his side in the game and stopped Marist from taking a hold on the match.
The competition point was a valuable one for the Renovators, who look to be pulling out of the slide of a poor run of performances.
The main match on Wembley's main ground between Wanganui City and the Feilding 1sts was one that looked like it was going to be a disappointing repeat of City's defeat in the first round of play.
A cruel hamstring injury to Carl Bond, one of City's key midfield players, forced City into using the early substitution.
But things were just not going right for City, who were playing average at best during the first 45 minutes and were punished accordingly by the visitors, taking a 2-0 lead going into the halftime break.
City coach Kelvin Francis brought out the good old-fashioned hairdryer at half-time, not allowing the excuse of having a couple of weeks off to be the excuse for such a poor performance.
"I just asked them whether they wanted it or not," he said.
"We created a couple of chances but nothing was happening.
"Their first goal was outstanding, a beautiful strike that was buried. But we need to do more.
"We were the better team, and we knew it."
It was almost as if a different team walked out onto the pitch in the second half.
Goals from Dan Aplin, Jordan Joblin-Hall and James Satherly gave the home side the victory they desired, as they dominated the second half, clearly playing with more passion than they had for the opening spell.
City now head into their catch-up games with the next few games critical in deciding whether they'll make the top-four competition, starting at the end of the catch-up rounds.