Redlands United extended their unbeaten run to five games in all competitions after shocking in-form Brisbane Strikers 2-1 at Cleveland Showgrounds on Friday night.
Lyndon Dykes and Igor Sao Jose did the damage for the hosts with goals in each half before Jheison Macuace scored a consolation penalty late in the contest for Strikers.
The win ends a three-match winning streak for Strikers in the league and lifts the Red Devils to ninth in the standings – their highest position since March.
The hosts displayed their intentions from the get-go when Dykes delivered the opener inside five minutes – the youngster delivering a composed control and finish after being picked out by Nico Bechar.
Strikers created a pair of half chances prior to the quarter hour before Trent Clulow spurned a gilt-edged opportunity to convert into an open goal.
Russell Woodruffe and Elliot Ronto both blazed away without success for the hosts before Strikers saw another chance go begging – Chris Maher storming into the penalty area but scooping his shot over the crossbar from close range.
Macuace and Clulow ultimately found the target late in the half for the visitors, however both were foiled by sharp saves from Red Devils’ goalkeeper Brendan White.
Strikers continued to push for an equaliser early in the second half as Macuace and Greig Henslee both missed the target after the restart.
However, Redlands also created chances as Dykes was denied his second by a tipped save from Strikers’ shot-stopper Michael Weier.
The hosts doubled their advantage just prior to the hour as Sao Jose netted his fourth goal of the campaign – the Brazilian beating a defender and slotting his shot through a congested penalty area.
At the other end Strikers continued to pressure the Redlands goalmouth, however were constantly foiled by the ever-present White.
Woodruffe spurned the chance to seal the points with a quarter hour remaining as he sent his effort over the crossbar.
The hosts invited a nervous finish when a scuffle in the box during a Strikers free-kick conceded a penalty, allowing Macuace to finally beat White from the subsequent spot kick.
However, Strikers failed to grasp a share of the points as Joshua McVey and Macuace failed to find the target with a pair of late chances.
Speaking post-match, Redlands defender Matt Lyell said the result was a reward for a full team defensive effort.
“Everyone stayed nice and compact, we kept our shape for the full ninety minutes and we fought for each other and we got the victory,” he said.
However, Strikers coach Kevin A’herne-Evans lamented his side’s inability to make the most of their chances in front of goal.
“(I’m) disappointed that we haven’t got anything out of the game when we created so many clear-cut opportunities – not half chances, but basic and pretty open chances,” he said.
Redlands United FC 2 (Lyndon DYKES 5’, Igor SAO JOSE 57’)
Brisbane Strikers FC 1 (Jheison MACUACE 86’p)