Devon Homes Wanganui Athletic continued their strong run of results with a narrow win over the Linton 1sts in the Western Premiership on Saturday.
Meanwhile, both the Wanganui City Renovators and Reserves failed to fire in their fixtures at home on Wembley Park.
Athletic claimed a crucial 2-1 win in Linton, widening the points gap between themselves and the chasing teams.
Still sitting just three points off the top of the table, Athletic's performance proved they are title contenders and that their off-season recruitment is starting to pay dividends.
It was Athletic's comfortable playing style that gave them opportunities but they put themselves under pressure as they tried to be too tricky on the ball.
It was down to Hishi Lama, signed just after the start of the season, to prove what a crucial cog in the machine he is.
Not only was his work rate in the middle of the park outstanding, he managed to bag himself a brace of goals.
As an attacking midfielder, Lama has been a godsend for the reds - he is always looking to get himself on the ball, and provided plenty of attacking opportunities.
While the final result was close, Athletic would have enjoyed the short bus ride home with the knowledge they now sit seven points clear of fourth place and still have a game in hand in which they will be looking to cash in.
It was a disastrous day for the Wanganui City Renovators after capitulating to the Massey Men's 1sts in a 9-0 landslide.
Being without three key players proved to be costly for City's development side, who managed to hold the visitors to just two goals in the first half, with the second coming right on the halftime whistle.
Renovators coach Tex von Kwiatowski was positive at the break, applauding the willingness of his young team but conceding that the holes left by Ben Toyne, Neihana Kahl and Tesco Grunwald were starting to prove costly to his team's ability to foot it with a classy Massey outfit.
His summation of the opposition proved to be accurate, as the visitors piled on the pressure over the second half, and slotted away seven more goals.
The loss will have hurt the pride of the Renovators, who were at one point in the season looking to be one of the better performing teams competing in the Western Premiership.
While they still sit on equal points with two other teams knocking on the door of third-placed Athletic, they hold the unenviable title of having the second worst defensive record in the competition, having conceded 31 goals in nine games.
It will be crucial for the Renovators to pick themselves back up quickly after this loss, as they head into this weekend to face their clubmates, the City Reserves.
The Reserves also suffered a loss at Wembley on Saturday, falling 2-0 to the Red Sox Manawatu As.
Reserves coach Karl Hayward identified the challenge ahead of his team before the match, knowing that they would have their work cut out for them if they were to get points out of the fixture.
And in a surprise twist, Hayward himself was forced to follow in first team coach Kelvin Francis' footsteps and roll back the years, donning the gloves after the last minute withdrawal of usual custodian Leo Silvagni.
His experience proved useful, as he communicated well, controlling the team in front of him, but the rust of a few years away from competitive play showed as a clinical Red Sox breached his defensive line on two occasions.
While Red Sox looked to be more in control of proceedings for longer periods of the match, City did show moments of clinical penetration - though they were unable to convert their gift chances and find the back of the net.
The City ranks were bolstered by the experienced presence of Collie Siew, who had an outstanding game, providing a much-needed calming and physical presence in the middle of the park.
Chris Annabel also had a solid game in the middle, linking back up with his old first team partner Siew, to give City some strength and direction.
But while the combination was delightful to watch, it was ultimately ineffective as Red Sox dismantled their efforts and exposed weaknesses in the Reserves defence, causing continual concerns for Hayward in goal.
With the City teams facing each other this coming weekend, and with both of them showing some defensive frailties, it will be an interesting week at training, as neither side will be looking to let the other hold pride of place in the clubrooms come this Saturday.