Striker Tim Smits delivered a second-half brace as Olympic FC defeated Sunshine Coast FC 2-0 at Goodwin Park on Sunday.
The Olympic marksman twice headed in from set-pieces to move to equal first in the race for the PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland Golden Boot and end his side’s run of three matches without a win.
The result strengthens Olympic’s hold on third place in the table, while continuing a mid-season slide for Fire who drop into the bottom third for the first time this season.
The visitors started brightly and nearly took the lead only ten minutes into the contest when Reyze Kelly struck the crossbar with a long-range free-kick.
The contest soon found balance as Fire’s Jacob Fulluck drew a near-post save from Matt Acton, before Olympic’s Danny Byrne sent his effort just wide immediately after.
However, the hosts gained the upper hand as the half drew to a close without reward for either side – Michael Lee coming closest to the opener when his chipped attempt tipped over the bar by Fire goalkeeper Dale Hill.
Olympic called on Hill again twice after the restart as the Fire custodian denied Lee and Sam Cronin in quick time.
Fire fashioned a pair of chances after the hour as Acton delivered a stretched save to keep out a strike from Kenya Takahashi, before the former Roar gloveman’s blushes were spared following a fumble when defender Matt Byrne headed the ball off the line.
The match remained poised until Smits found the opener with just over quarter of an hour remaining – delivering a trademark headed finish from a corner to open his account.
Shortly after Matt Byrne came close to doubling the advantage when his header was cleared off the line by the Fire defence.
However, Smits struck again from another corner in the final minutes to seal the win – his twelfth goal of the campaign moving him level with Brisbane Strikers’ Jheison Macuace as the league’s leading goalscorer this season.
Speaking post-match, Olympic midfielder Cronin described Smits as a “legend” at the top of the formation.
“He works hard for us and always seems to pop up and score for us,” he said.
Fire captain Kelly said despite the poor run of results the signs were there that Fire are returning to their best.
“We’re definitely coming out of our slump. We haven’t got the points behind us to show it but anyone that’s watching the games can see we are back on track,” he said.
Olympic FC 2 (Tim SMITS 73’ 88’)
Sunshine Coast FC 0