Danny Byrne scored twice from the spot to help Olympic FC to an action-packed 3-0 win over Northern Fury at Goodwin Park on Sunday.
Byrne could have had a hattrick of penalties while the visitors missed one of their own as Olympic rose to third spot.
Rhys Meredith came close to opening the scoring inside five minutes when he stole on to a back-pass ahead of Fury ‘keeper Joseph Simons, but his toepoke was cleared by a retreating George Dalton.
An arm-wrestle ensued for much of the first half as Matt Acton was required to keep out three shots on target, while Rhys Meredith and Tim Smits might have done better late in the half.
However, the match swung heavily in Olympic’s favour shortly after the restart courtesy of two penalties in quick succession.
Kazuya Ito was first knocked to the floor to allow Danny Byrne to step up and sidefoot the hosts into a 1-0 lead, before Byrne himself was fouled just three minutes later.
The Olympic captain again made no mistake, stroking his spot kick in off the base of the post.
Ari Isman could have pulled Fury back into the match with just over 20 minutes remaining but headed Joe Thornton’s dangerous corner over the crossbar, while Michael Eisenhut was unable to hit the target after robbing Acton in possession.
An intentional handball by Dalton then sent Byrne to the spot for a third time, but Simons this time pushed away the effort at full stretch.
The drama continued in the final 15 minutes as Darren Gray was shown a straight red for foul and abusive language, but the home side sealed three points in the final minute of normal time as Michael Lee followed up on Dylan Wenzel-Halls’ shot against the post to make it 3-0.
There was still time for Fury to win a penalty of their own but Acton outfoxed Joe Thornton to preserve his first clean sheet of the season.
Speaking after the match, goalkeeper Acton was pleased to move on from consecutive league and cup defeats.
“I think it’s pretty rare for this club to lose two on the trot so the boys were pretty determined going into the game not to let it slip again,” the shot-stopper said.
Fury coach Ian Ferguson felt the lack of opportunities for his in-form wide players proved costly.
“Credit to Olympic, they snuffed us out today and made it very difficult,” he said.
Olympic FC 3 (Danny BYRNE p.48’, p.51’, Michael LEE 90’)
Northern Fury FC 0