Palm Beach SC remain in the hunt for a top four finish after comfortably seeing off SWQ Thunder 5-1 at Mallawa Complex on Saturday.
Sharks raced to a four goal advantage prior to the hour courtesy of Kristian Rees, Joshua Riis, Eoghan Murphy and Roman Hofmann, before Ethan Grimley wrapped up the result in time added on.
The result consigned Thunder to a 16th straight PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland defeat, while Sharks move three points off fourth place with matches in hand on their rivals.
A lively start for both sides saw chances at either end – Thunder goalkeeper Pierce Clark saving a strike from Justyn McKay before Sharks goalkeeper Shane Viitakangas won out one-on-one against Nykodah Smith.
The balance of play quickly began to favour the hosts as a series of corners resulted in Clark again saving a goal-bound effort from McKay.
However, the pressure told as Rees headed the home from another corner only a minute later – the goal his second of the league campaign.
Riis doubled the advantage shortly after when Thunder failed to diffuse a cross and the attacker, in his first start since June, delivered a spectacular, stretched finish.
Thunder didn’t truly threaten in their attacking third again until after the half hour when Colin Ball forced a low stop from Viitakangas.
However, Sharks struck once more before the break when Murphy headed home his first ever PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland goal for the club.
Only minutes after the restart the points were secured when Hofmann capitalised with a composed finish after Thunder failed to clear their lines.
The visitors only stemmed the tide after experienced defender Rees was substituted after the hour – skipper Keagan Sheridan converting from the penalty spot for Thunder.
The goal proved to only be a consolation though as Sharks settled and chances dried up for both sides in the closing stages.
Substitute Grimley found a final score in time added on when the attacker capped off a run from just inside half-way with a calculated finish past Clark.
Speaking post-match, Sharks coach Grae Piddick said the match went to plan as his side prepare for Wednesday night’s Westfield FFA Cup tie against South Melbourne FC.
“The good thing about tonight was we were able to control a lot of possession which was handy and I was able to give a few guys an early breather,” Piddick said.
Thunder coach Chris Wilkes said his side are improving but inexperience continues to cost them competition points.
“We are creating chances but at the end of the day we just give those simple things away and the goals we are conceding are very, very basic,” Wilkes said.
Palm Beach SC 5 (Kristian REES 12’, Joshua RIIS 19’, Eoghan MURPHY 39’, Roman HOFMANN 49’, Ethan GRIMLEY 90+1’
SWQ Thunder FC 1 (Keagan SHERIDAN 65’p)