Having been through the ringer twice with Palmerston North Marist on consecutive weekends, GJ Gardner Wanganui Athletic did not want to let their standards slip against the winless Red Sox at Memorial Park on Saturday.

Instead, the home side got hit with most of the same intensity that Athletic brought against the competition's high flyers, and it showed in the 6-0 thrashing as the visitors put away three goals in each half.

Coach Jason King was determined that complacency would not set in as his team got the competition points and a healthy improvement on their for/against record.

"Red Sox certainly put a dampener on us last year, when we played a scoreless draw we shouldn't have," he said.

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"We were looking to take the game to them and push them back, knowing they would put more people back.

"Once we scored our first one away and kept the pressure on, with them parking the bus at the back, we dominated the game."

While everything was well in hand after 45 minutes, King opted to continuing pushing a firm line in the halftime talk – singling out the flaws and demanding increased effort.

"I don't mind if they say, 'you're a bit negative' – we went on to win 6-0."

The goals were shared around as Quinn Mailman got a double, while Jordan Candish, Josh Smith, Ryan Holden and Jordan Gilmore all found the back of the net.

King prefers having the range of attacking options, given several other Lotto Federation League teams are relying on star strikers.

"That's great for the Golden Boot race, but at the end of the day, I'd rather have a team that's deadly, because then who do you take on?"

It sets Athletic up for the big clash to finish off the first round, as they will meet top of the table North End, who have only lost to Marist and still lead due to that side being held to a couple of draws, one of them by Athletic.

"The team have become quite the dark horse of the competition," King said.

In the Horizons Premiership, the GJ Gardner Homes Wanganui Athletic Reserves played out a 1-1 draw with the Palmerston North Marist Reserves at Skoglund Park.