Moreton Bay United lost their grip on top spot on the PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland ladder with a 2-1 defeat to Palm Beach SC at Mallawa Complex on Saturday.
Matt Jones delivered the decisive goal for the hosts early in the second half after Sharks’ Roman Hofmann and Jets’ Charles Mendy traded goals in the opening stanza.
The win sees Palm Beach remain in the hunt for a top four finish and regains their winning form ahead of a high-profile Westfield FFA Cup clash against Hyundai A-League club Western Sydney Wanderers.
The result also sees Jets drop three points behind Premiership rivals Brisbane Strikers, and extends a run of poor form that sees the club with just one win from their past five outings.
Jets dominated the opening exchanges but couldn’t make the most of chances to Stephen Green and Jackson Hall in the opening ten minutes, who both skied shots over the bar from range.
Sharks struck against the run of play on 12 minutes when Justyn McKay found space on the right before crossing low to Hofmann to convert his fifth goal of the league campaign.
Despite the setback momentum largely remained with the visitors but they were repeatedly frustrated by a young Sharks defence missing the suspended Kristian Rees.
However, Jets levelled terms just after the half hour when Mendy made an angled run in the penalty area and snuck his shot past Sharks goalkeeper Shane Viitakangas from an acute angle.
Both sides threatened again before the break with Jets’ Scott Stewart heading over from Ryota Nakaooka’s cross, before Hofmann did likewise from a cross from Nikola Mirkovic.
Mendy continued to prove dangerous down the left flank after the restart – finding Liam Previtera with a cross only for the shot to be saved by Viitakangas.
The contest opened up further as both sides sought to capitalise on the break, before Sharks regained the lead before the hour from a free-kick – Jones heading home his second goal of the season after meeting Florian Matk’s cross.
From then on clear cut chances proved elusive until the closing stages as Sharks sought to hold on to their advantage.
Sharks substitute Jack Boxell came closest to doubling the advantage for the hosts by forcing Jets goalkeeper Luke Borean to make a diving save with ten minutes remaining.
Jets finished strongly – threatening from a series of late corner kicks – but were unable to salvage a point in the final minutes.
Speaking post-match, Sharks coach Grae Piddick said his backline had stood up and did well to counter Jets’ potent attack.
“The goal that they scored was highly preventable but they were putting us under pressure and we had difficulty at times, but I think also at other times we played some really good stuff considering the condition of the pitch,” Grae Piddick
Jets coach Adam Piddick said his team had paid the price for not making the most of their early chances.
“It’s just a shame that we’re starting slow and giving teams something to hold on to and today we just couldn’t claw it back,” Adam Piddick said.
Palm Beach SC 2 (Roman HOFMANN 12’, Matthew JONES 52’)
Moreton Bay United FC 1 (Charles MENDY 36’)