Palmerston North Marist scored their third Central League win with a dominant 3-0 victory over Lower Hutt in Hutt Valley on Saturday.
The win keeps Marist in a battle for fourth place, behind Wellington Olympic, Miramar Rangers and Napier City Rovers with one game to go in the first round.
Marist began the game in stunning fashion when striker Jerram Tuck scored his sixth goal of the season with a brilliant strike across the Lower Hutt goalkeeper into the far corner.
"It was the perfect start for us and a phenomenal finish from Jerram," Marist coach Simon Lees said.
"It was a really good team effort from us and everyone played their part."
Marist was aided when Lower Hutt had a player sent off early in the first half after Khair Jones was taken out. When he was dumped again in the Lower Hutt goalbox Jones finished it off.
Jordan Martens, playing up front with Tomas Mosquera out, then scored with another quality finish, turning the defence and putting his shot in the corner from the edge of the box.
Lees wasn't concerned his side failed to add to the 3-0 lead, he was more intent in keeping Lower Hutt from scoring.
"We wanted to keep things really tight and not let the lead slip like we have in other games this season."
It was Marist's first clean sheet of the season.
In the Federation League, decimated by suspensions and players away, Feilding, with five of their B team in the starting lineup, showed they've got depth in the club they didn't think they had, beating Marist Reserves 3-0 at Memorial Park.
In an open game which went from end to end in the first half, it was a brilliant low shot from the edge of the goalbox by Joe Czornookyj that put Feilding ahead just as the referee blew for halftime.
Feilding took their chances in the second half with striker Tony Gavin, who had a strong game, and Corey Kotuki both scoring.
North End kept their slim Federation League title hopes alive with a 3-0 win over Palmerston North Boys' High School at Skoglund Park.
Each week North End play coach Garry Hodge must wonder which of his team is turning up to play. Last week they were awful once they conceded a goal, but Hodge said the first half against Boys' High, when they scored three goals, was as good as they've played.
"At least we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot this week," Hodge said.
"We did what we needed to in the first half then I think the players started thinking about the Chatham Cup game."
Lucian Armstrong, Kenel Mouithys and Matt Smith scored North End's goals.
Red Sox-Manawatu coach Craig Smithers was disappointed with his side's 5-1 loss to league leader Team Taranaki at Skoglund Park, with Bart Rimmongrua scoring a late goal for Red Sox.
"We learnt a harsh lesson today about what not to do when we've got the ball under pressure at the back," Smithers said.
"It's still about learning what you can and can't do at this level for a lot of the boys."
Red Sox played well in the first half, but conceded a goal when the defence was caught with the ball. Then early in the second spell Taranaki scored twice within a couple of minutes and the game was over.
Valeron Wanderers went from looking at a good win to scrambling for a last-minute 3-all draw against Upper Hutt City in the women's Central League at Memorial Park yesterday.
Valeron were up 2-1 at halftime and should have finished Upper Hutt off, but found themselves chasing the game after they went to sleep and conceded two goals.
It then took a 90th minute goal from Ella Wiebe to draw the game and salvage a point for Valeron.
Ella James and Kowhai Hudson were the two best for Valeron.
Wiebe also scored in the first half, as did Ashley Thurston.
Massey University postponed their game against Lower Hutt because Massey defender Jess Green was getting married to former YoungHeart Manawatu and New Zealand A player Ian Robinson.
- Manawatu Standard