Churchill Brothers registered their first win of the season as they brushed aside Shillong Lajong 4-2 in the I-League at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Thursday.
Willis Plaza (18', 51', 54') opened the scoring for the hosts in the first half and scored two more after the restart to complete a hat-trick. Samuel Lalmuanpuia (30'), Dawda Ceesay (39') and Samuel Kynshi (48') were the other goalscorers.
Churchill Brothers were without goalkeeper James Kithan who was sent off in the goalless draw against Real Kashmir. Petre Gigiu made two more changes with Nallappan Mohanraj and Khalid Aucho making way for Jovel Martins and Aniston Fernandes.
For the visitors, Alison Kharsyntiew made four changes to his side that suffered a 3-1 loss to Gokulam Kerala. Phurba Lachenpa replaced Neithovilie Chalieu in goal while Kynsailand Khongsit, Samuel Lalmuanpuia and Mebankraw Wahlang came in place of Kenstar Kharshong, Mahesh Singh and suspended Novin Gurung.
It took 18 minutes for the hosts to break the deadlock as Willis Plaza smashed home Dawda Ceesay's cross from the right.
Though Lajong initially resorted to on long ranger efforts, Lalmuanpuia managed to release Phrangki Buam into the box and the former scored from the rebound after the latter's shot was kept out by Martins.
The Red Machines regained their lead when Ceesay collected Plaza's pass and sent a left-footed shot from the edge of the box towards the far corner in the 39th minute.
Lajong's quick-paced move soon after the break caught the hosts by surprise as Kynshi stormed into the Churchill box and slotted the ball past Baskaran in the 48th minute.
However, not only did Gigiu's men go back on top with Plaza's 51st minute header from Gurung's free-kick, the Trinidad and Tobago forward made it 4-2 with a solo effort three minutes later.
The hat-trick hero could have scored a couple more but he wasted chances to add to his tally as Churchill Brothers sealed a dominant win.