IT SEEMED that the football gods smiled kindly on the teams at home at Wembley Park on Saturday, with both the Wanganui City Renovators and Devon Homes Wanganui Athletic claiming victories at the hallowed ground in the Western Premiership.

Meanwhile, the results were not so favourable for both Evolution Painting & Decorating Wanganui City and the Wanganui City Reserves, each falling to defeats on the road.

City coach Kelvin Francis felt a touch hard done by, but ultimately accepted the poor decisions on the park led to their 4-2 loss to North End in the Lotto Federation League.

"They got two penalties in the first half, scored from one, and I saved the second, but the reality is they shouldn't have happened in the first place.


"We were just giving them too much time, and then rushing into challenges.

"They played three in the middle, like us, but they were still able to walk around us, again it was just the basics."

With the score sitting at 1-0 at the break, Francis took the opportunity to remind the team the task in front of them was still achievable.

"I said to the boys, just delay them. Don't rush in, cause we're getting beaten.

"Their movement off the ball was much better than ours.

"Just slow them down, and turn them around. That's all we needed to do to get ourselves back into the match."

While the message struck home with the boys in gold, and they went out and played a much better second half, North End were still able to find their way through the line and into the back of the net.

Blows were traded throughout the stanza, with an early goal putting the home side ahead, and rattled City, but it was not to be for long as Jordan Joblin-Hall brought City within reach, at 2-1.


North End scored through a quality strike that found the far top corner, leaving even Francis applauding the quality of the strike, before City returned fire through Anthony Bell to bring the scoreline back to 3-2 with time winding down.

The final nail in the coffin, however, was a lesson to younger players in the importance of playing to the whistle, with what appeared to be a clear-as-day offside waved away, leaving the City defenders rooted to the ground, and Francis planted on the penalty spot, allowing the oncoming attacker to calmly tuck the ball into the bottom corner while City were still protesting their case.

As the final whistle sounded, City were again ruing not being consistent enough for 90 minutes, and Francis was honest in his assessment of the second 45 minutes.

"It was a simple case of us starting to push on as you do when the hour mark hits and you're chasing the game, and that took it's toll on us physically.

"The boys started to get a bit tired, and didn't retreat to defend, and we were caught out on the counter way too often.

"We played better in the second half, but ultimately that wasn't enough."

City now sit in limbo, unsure of whether they'll be playing next weekend, with the result of Team Taranaki's fixture against North End key to defining the final standings.

It could well be a case of Central Football bubble-wrapping Team Taranaki in an effort to ensure they can prepare for their Central League playoffs, rather than next weekend's scheduled catch-up match against City at Wembley Park.

Taranaki will also relish the chance to avoid what would be a taxing encounter, and will surely be calling in high-level favours at Central.

The City Reserves were also unlucky in their encounter away from home, falling to a 2-0 loss to the Red Sox Rovers, leaving the Reserves surely shaking their head at the missed opportunity for a well-deserved victory.

While it was disappointing away from home, the sun shining on Wembley Park brought rays of redemption for both of the home teams.

First up were the Wanganui City Renovators, who have grown as a team and as individuals throughout the year.

City's young development side seemed up to the task of the physical encounter coming north from the team from Levin, and were not as easily muscled out of the game as the previous encounter.

The opening goal was credited to Ben Huijs, who rose to a well placed cross, and got his head to the ball enough to place the ball beyond the outstretched arms of the Levin keeper.

Renovators coach Tex von Kwiatowski was rapturous with Huijs' effort, not only for the quality of the finish, but due to Huijs not being a regular scorer for the team.

Levin soon pegged one back, bringing the scores level, before James Dorgan finished the ball with plenty of intent.

After the match Von Kwiatowski was pleased with his team's 2-1 scoreline, and felt the young side were starting to show some cohesion again.


With the hoodoo of poor results cleared from the main ground at Wembley, it was over to Wanganui Athletic to continue the good vibe through their match against the Red Sox Manawatu As.

Within 10 minutes, Jordan Gilmore had found the back of the net twice, both superb finishes after beating players and weaving magic pathways toward the goal, then followed by authoritative strikes to send the net rippling.

Just when spectators thought they had seen a magical start to the match, Josh Parker, who was forced from the field not long after, received the ball and turned gracefully past two players, before dropping his head and sending a beautifully curved ball sailing toward the top right corner, leaving the Red Sox keeper with nothing to do but watch the ball sail into the net.

With a three-goal lead at the half, it would have been expected that Athletic would easily have been able to shut out the game and control the remaining 45 minute session. However, Red Sox had other ideas.

Athletic were soon under pressure as Red Sox went on the attack..

Three goals soon had found their way into Athletic's net.

But it was down to Scott Burney to ring home the victory and spoil Red Sox hopes of returning home with any competition points on board, as he finished a late-game cross, giving the home side a much-needed win, and a reward for a spectacular first half in an entertaining match.