Smith Haul Sees Heat Advance

Alex Smith delivered four goals to guide FNQ Heat to a commanding 6-1 win over Stratford FC in the Westfield FFA Cup on Wednesday night at Barlow Park.

Heat survived an early scare when they conceded on the quarter hour but ultimately romped home on the back of PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland Golden Boot leader Smith’s haul and a brace to Crios O’Hare.

The win sees Heat book a showdown with Townsville-based PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland rivals Northern Fury in the next round of Westfield FFA Cup qualifying.

Heat spurned a chance to take the lead early when Jamie Carroll saw his sixth minute penalty saved by Stratford goalkeeper Angelo Serafin.

The third-tier FNQ Premier Men’s side then took an unexpected lead after Josh Jennison conceded a penalty – Jo Rusch converting from the ensuing spot-kick for the visitors.

However, Heat replied almost instantly when Smith turned his defender and slotted a shot into the bottom corner of the goal to open his account.

Heat took the lead for the first time five minutes later when O’Hare delivered a venomous headed finish from a Smith corner.

The hosts continued to threaten as Cameron Nucifora and O’Hare sent efforts wide of the target either side of the half-hour.

Before Smith doubled advantage ten minutes from half-time with an opportunistic finish after pouncing on a rebound off the post from O’Hare.

Stratford’s hopes of a comeback were all-but-ended only minutes after the restart as Carroll, O’Hare and Smith combined with a series of one-touch passes to further extend the margin.

Serafin performed a pair of sharp saves to deny O’Hare and Shaun Owens either side of the hour as he attempted to keep his side in the contest.

However, O’Hare effectively secured Heat’s place in the next round with an angled strike for his second goal of the night with a quarter hour remaining.

Smith then iced the result – and rounded out his impressive four-goal return – with a composed penalty kick in the final minutes.

Speaking post-match, Heat captain Tamas Maffey-Stumpe said he had little doubt his side would advance despite conceding the opening goal

“I was worried we weren’t switched on but I wasn’t worried we wouldn’t get the result because I know the quality we got in our team,” he said.

The win means Heat are two wins away from returning to the national Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 for the second straight year.

FNQ FC Heat  5 (Alex SMITH 19’ 35’ 47’ 84’p, Crios O’HARE 25’ 75’)
Stratford FC  1 (Jo RUSCH 16’p)