Redlands United surged closer to finals football by ruthlessly punishing Western Pride 6-1 at Cleveland Showgrounds on Friday night.
Graham Fyfe snared a hattrick while Elliott Ronto and Lyndon Dykes also added goals to make it four straight.
Victory moves the Red Devils into a season-high fourth spot with six matches remaining.
Ronto opened his account for the hosts after only two minutes, cutting through a sea of bodies in the box to beat Bon Scott with a well-placed finish inside the far post.
Redlands’ dream start continued two minutes later as Fyfe pounced on Ronto’s initial strike to give the hosts an early 2-0 lead.
Mitch Bird had a chance to cut his former side’s lead in half but his cultured effort curled inches wide of the top corner.
Lyndon Dykes made the reprieve count by making it 3-0 inside 15 minutes, catching Pride goalkeeper Bon Scott off his line with a goal of the season contender.
Fyfe only added to Scott’s irritation in the 23rd minute, sliding his second of the night through the gloveman’s legs to make it 4-0.
Pride were able to gain some hope before half-time when a penalty allowed Lincoln Rule to step up and shoot low into the bottom right corner, but any thoughts of a comeback were scuppered within a minute of the restart as Fyfe moved equal-second in the Golden Boot race with his 12th of the season.
Pride trio Harrison Sawyer, Majok Piok and Bird all had opportunities to narrow the margin but were unable to beat Brendan White.
Those missed opportunities left Ronto to have the final say in the 86th minute with a simple tap-in to improving his tally to six and capping a fine night for Redlands.
Speaking after the match, Redlands player-coach Graham Fyfe felt winning had become a habit for his side.
“The boys are in great spirits. We’re riding a good wave at the moment,” Fyfe said.
Western Pride interim coach Wayne Heath lamented a lethargic opening.
“We just didn’t start well. We let ourselves down in a lot of dumb areas and they took advantage,” Heath said.
Redlands United FC 6 (Elliott RONTO 2’ 86’, Graham FYFE 4’ 23’ 46’, Lyndon DYKES 13’)
Western Pride FC 1 (Lincoln RULE 35’p)