This was no weekend for another respectable loss.

Versatile Wanganui City are winners again after cruising to a 4-0 win over Red Sox Manawatu on Saturday.

It was just City's second win of the season, coming a week after a close loss to leaders Marist, and lifts them five points clear of the winless Red Sox at the season's halfway point.

Wembley Park was one of only two grounds to host Federation League action this weekend with all Palmerston North-based matches cancelled due to underfoot conditions.


It was an underwhelming bottom of the table clash with City scoring early on and Red Sox never looking up for a fight.

The fourth minute goal started deep in City's half with Max Davidson who took the ball wide and passed down the line to Anthony Bell who outsprinted the defensive line before passing across goal for Dan Aplin to tap in.

Red Sox have been held scoreless five times this season with just three goals in seven games and it showed with the visitors hardly posing a threat to the City defence, which has leaked more goals than any this season.

Kazuki Tanaka was industrious up front for Red Sox but ultimately unsupported and Red Sox opportunities were restricted to a handful of free kicks.

On the other hand City made hard work out of turning early dominance into more goals.

Latham Berry, Bell and Aplin all took ambitious shots to goal from the left hand corner of the box but couldn't hit the target.

City's Kyle Graham-Luke looks to round Red Sox Josh Davis at Wembley Park. Photo/ Stuart Munro
City's Kyle Graham-Luke looks to round Red Sox Josh Davis at Wembley Park. Photo/ Stuart Munro

Coach Kelvin Francis said City struggled with the visitors' defensive style and needed to be more patient and to wait for chances to go around Red Sox rather than through them.

"You can say that as much as you like to the players but actually on the pitch they just see all this space so they want to run into it and then all of a sudden they get to the end of the field and Red Sox have got this bank of players and there's nowhere to go and there's no movement to make," he said.


"There's no intensity there, they're not pressuring you so it makes it difficult to try and make a tempo and keep one."

City had to wait until just before halftime to add to their tally when Lewis Barker collected Davidson in the box with a clumsy tackle.

Kyle Graham-Luke on his return from injury easily slotted the penalty, sending Red Sox keeper Jarod Harvey in the wrong direction.

In first half injury time Davidson again found himself on the ball inside the box but on this occasion only Harvey stood in his way as he nabbed City's third for a halftime scoreline City deserved but hadn't looked like getting just three minutes earlier.

Red Sox would have had to double their season goal tally in 45 minutes to salvage anything from the match and when Bell scored midway through the second spell it put the result beyond any doubt.

Bell managed to finally beat the Red Sox defensive line to run onto the ball and cap of a comfortable win for City, who now travel to play Eskview United for their second round Federation Cup match in Hawke's Bay next Saturday.

Red Sox Gwylym Hamilton gets in front of City's Josh Jonas during Saturday's Federation League match. Photo/ Stuart Munro
Red Sox Gwylym Hamilton gets in front of City's Josh Jonas during Saturday's Federation League match. Photo/ Stuart Munro

"It was tough going out there today," Francis said.

"We should've scored more than four but, hey, it's three points. Plenty of positives to come out of today and the clean sheet has got to be one I guess.

"There'll be some sore calves because it is quite heavy underfoot but at least we got a game. We needed it heading to that Federation Cup match next weekend."

The victory ends the first round of matches for City and while two wins from seven will disappoint the promoted club, Francis is expecting a better second half of the season.

"We'd like to win more than we lose in the second round and there's no reason we can't finish in the top half of the table," he said.

"No team is unbeatable. I think Athletic will probably pose us the most problems. And that's our next league game."

That match is on June 9 and a rematch of the opening round derby which GJ Gardner Wanganui Athletic won 5-2.

The only other match played this round was in New Plymouth where Marist beat Rangers 4-2 to move to the top of the ladder, having played one more match than second-placed North End who sit two points behind.

City, PN Marist, and their vanquished opponents have managed to get away with ending the League first round, as all other Central Football fixtures were postponed for the weekend.

GJ Gardner Wanganui Athletic did not play North End AFC at Skoglund Park on Saturday, while the Athletic Reserves did not meet Feilding United back at Wembley Park in the Horizons Premiership.

Football Whanganui missed the trip to face Taradale away in the GR Engineering Women's Federation League on Sunday.

Athletic coach Jason King said they will now have discussions with Central and North End to either play their match this coming Queens Birthday Saturday, or just tack it on at the end of the league season.

A decision should be known by Monday evening.