Stephen Blackburn netted a brace to help Northern Fury prevail 3-1 in a fiery encounter against Olympic FC at Townsville Sports Reserve on Saturday.
Blackburn struck a goal in either half in his first NPL Queensland start with Jonathon Bagley also chiming in to keep the hosts’ Finals Series hopes alive for another week.
Dylan Wenzel-Halls delivered a consolation for Olympic from the penalty spot, however it wasn’t enough to prevent the visitors from recording a fourth loss in their past five outings.
The match was marred by an ugly second half altercation between Olympic’s Matt Mundy and Fury debutant Nick Dunn that saw players from both sides rush in.
Fury started the contest brightly and opened the scoring inside five minutes when Blackburn headed home his maiden NPL Queensland goal courtesy of Joseph Thornton’s cross.
Bagley doubled the advantage prior to the half-hour when he burst through the centre of the pitch before finding the back of the net with a strike from outside the penalty area.
Blackburn secured his double shortly after the restart – converting after being teed-up by Jacob Crowley.
However, Fury goalkeeper Daniel Wilesmith’s hopes of securing a first clean sheet of the campaign were dealt a blow in the final minutes when Ari Isman conceded a penalty by felling Wenzel-Halls on the burst.
Wenzel-Halls then converted the spot-kick for his first goal of the 2015 campaign.
The result leaves Olympic in fourth place and still within reach of Fury and Palm Beach SC in the hunt for finals football.
Speaking post-match, Fury coach Ian Ferguson said while pleased with the result there was still room for improvement from his charges.
“We took our goals well but we still had three or four opportunities that we should have again capitalised on but we didn’t – but I’ve got to be happy with a 3-1 win,” Ferguson said.
Northern Fury FC 3 (Stephen BLACKBURN 3’ 47’, Jonathon BAGLEY 28’)
Olympic FC 1 (Dylan WENZEL-HALLS 81’p)