The disappointment of giving up the Horizons Premiership lead last weekend has been well a truly put to bed.

Big Orange Wanganui City 1sts thrashed Levin AFC Premier 8-1 at Wembley Park on Saturday with most of the damage done in a devastating 30 minute spell.

Doubles to Latham Berry, Eli Fleming and Dan Aplin all helped City put in the kind of performance they will need over the next three weeks to stay in title contention.

But they will also need new leaders Hokowhitu FC to slip up at some point.


And that looks a little less likely after the Palmerston North club carried out their own demolition job, 13-0, over Feilding United.

Only one point separates Hokowhitu and City but all the Whanganui club can do now is play how they played on Saturday and hope for the best.

"It's pleasing to come back from last week's gutting loss and to come out and really put a statement out there that it's not over yet," City coach Kelvin Francis said.

"I'm pretty pleased with that."

He wouldn't have been saying that 20 minutes into Saturday's match however as seventh-placed Levin made the most of a forgettable opening period.

Joshua Morris opened the scoring for Levin early on as City looked confused and frustrated.

They couldn't string passes together, they were regular moments of miscommunication and uncertainty.

Levin were not a whole lot better but they nearly doubled their lead in the 15th minute.
A Dylan Vine strike was sailing into the top right hand corner only to be steered of course by a flying Glen Graham in goal.


Then City woke up.

Anthony Bell went on a storming run from halfway, got the ball across the box for Max Davidson who flicked on for Berry to level the scores in the 20th minute.

It set in motion City's scoring spree.

Fleming got his first six minutes later and shortly after City were awarded a penalty.

From the spot Kyle Graham-Luke's shot was parried by Levin keeper Carl Trask as was his second attempt off the rebound before the ball spilled out for Berry to claim his second.

Wanganui City's Kyle Graham-Luke asses his options. Photo/ Bevan Conley
Wanganui City's Kyle Graham-Luke asses his options. Photo/ Bevan Conley

Bell ran onto a Marcus Jones assist to volley home his 32nd minute goal and then Fleming secured his brace two minutes later.

Davidson made it 6-1 to the home side right on halftime from which point the match was effectively over, though Levin were able to limit City to a Dan Aplin brace scored in the 61st and 73rd minutes.

"It was little bit harder to do that in the second half, and good on them, they got back behind the ball quite well and that makes it hard to break a team down," Francis said.

"The boys wanted to score double figures and really rub it in but it was just little execution things.

"Other than that it was a pretty good overall performance."

Francis was pleased City were able to work themselves out of a uncharacteristic opening period.

"I think it was like we were so keen to get out of the blocks and get going that we had a lot of assumptions that they guy next to them was going to do the job," he said.

"So there was a bit of miscommunication. And their goal didn't really wake us up either.

"But then we found our feet, got that goal and then we just played some sublime football."

Francis said Fleming was outstanding in managing to pick up two goals while doing his job at the back.

"He likes to call himself the dynamic goal scoring left back so I think he earned that tag today.

"That's what I ask of my outside backs is to get up to support those guys up the top so we can create that push."

Aplin, Berry and Josh Jonas would all be in contention for MVP points, Francis said.

City travel to Feilding next Saturday to play a team they struggled to put away at home earlier this year but will be expected to beat before finishing off with North End (6th) and Massey Celtic (9th).

"If we play like we played it that 30 minute period today it wouldn't matter who it is," Francis said.

"We're sometimes too eager to get forward before we set up to go forward so that'll be something we talk about and hopefully the weather plays ball so we can get two trainings."

Hokowhitu finish the season with North End, Marist Development (10th) and Palmerston North Boys High School (3rd).

Meanwhile, the GVCA Wanganui Athletic Reserves could not hold back PNBHS in their Premiership clash at Celaeno Park.

The Reserves lost 5-2, despite the reinforcement of a couple of players from the Devon Homes Wanganui Athletic 1sts, who were on a bye in the Lotto Federation League.

Richard Dalby scored one goal while Nusr Ghamri had memorable game with the other goal and a yellow card.

Ayokunle Adeyinka scored a hat trick for PNBHS, while Samuel Jones and Luke Minshull got the other goals.