Brisbane Strikers rolled traditional rivals Sunshine Coast FC 4-0 at Perry Park on Saturday, recording a third straight league win to retain second place on the table.
Trent Clulow struck twice inside the opening quarter hour for the hosts before Jheison Macauce extended the advantage prior to half-time.
Joshua McVey then iced the result in the final minutes to help Strikers consign their former Queensland State League nemesis to a second straight defeat.
Strikers got out of the blocks early – Trent Clulow opening the scoring inside 90 seconds after Fire failed to clear their lines.
The attacking midfielder doubled the advantage only ten minutes later, turning home a cross from Greg King to extend his season’s tally to six league goals.
Macuace almost added another on the quarter hour when he saw his headed effort clatter into the crossbar following Clulow’s cross.
However, the Colombian attacker bounced back to deliver his fourth goal in three matches shortly after – turning in McVey’s ball into the penalty area.
Fire created their best moments from corners as the half concluded and saw a sprinkling of chances deflect wide of the target.
After the restart Fire pushed forward under the steam of Tim Hollingsworth but were unable to beat Michael Weier in the Strikers goalmouth.
With the result all but secured Strikers sought to close out the match, however McVey added his name to the score sheet with a delicate finish to the top corner in the final minutes of regular time.
The result is the second time in a fortnight Fire have lost at Perry Park after falling 3-1 to Brisbane Roar Youth in the previous round.
Speaking post-match, Strikers coach Kevin A’herne-Evans expressed his delight with his players performance after backing up from a hard-fought midweek win over Moreton Bay United in the Westfield FFA Cup.
“For (the players) to put in that kind of performance, nice and early in the game as well, obviously it gave us something to hang on to late on – that was the whole thought process,” he said.
Fire player-coach Paul Arnison admitted his side were effectively out of the contest after conceding three early goals.
“To concede a goal in the first ninety seconds was disappointing from us. The first three goals we could defend better,” he conceded.
Brisbane Strikers FC 4 (Trent CLULOW 2’ 11’, Jheison MACAUCE 20’, Joshua MCVEY 88’)
Sunshine Coast FC 0