Palm Beach v FNQ Heat

Palm Beach SC put an end to their two-match losing streak on Saturday, defeating FNQ Heat 3-1 at Mallawa Complex.

Nik Mirkovic gave the hosts a single goal advantage at half-time before Justyn McKay and Ethan Grimley secured the points in the second half.

The win was Sharks’ first since April and sees the defending PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Premiers move ahead of Heat in the league.

Kicking off in extremely windy conditions the hosts had the early running as captain Justyn McKay struck a pair of early shots without success.

Further chances were spurned by both sides before Mirkovic struck the opener midway through the half – slotting a low finish into the bottom corner of the goal.

Heat threatened an immediate reply as Alex Smith was denied amidst a goal-mouth scramble only a minute later.

Sharks then spurned the chance to double their lead when Matt Jones missed the target with a header just before the break.

Conditions settled in the second half and the contest opened up with McKay seeing an early free-kick pushed onto the post by Heat goalkeeper Kevin Ward.

However, McKay broke through Heat’s defences soon after, delivering a low strike to beat Ward and give the hosts breathing space.

Heat threatened to mount a comeback as Cameron Nucifora forced a save from Sharks goalkeeper Shane Viitakangas and Smith send a snap-shot wide of the target.

The breakthrough came for the visitors with a quarter hour remaining as defender Watanabe found the back of the net with a diving header from Crios O’Hare’s cross.

Heat pressed hard for an equaliser as O’Hare was denied twice in quick time before Mqondisi Nkiwane, Charlie Beverley and Jamie Carroll also proved unable to beat Viitakangas.

With the visitors chasing the game Sharks substitute Grimley took advantage to seal the points in time added on with a composed low finish.

The result marks a second straight defeat for Heat in the league and leaves the club languishing ninth in the table at their season’s half-way point.

Speaking post-match, Heat coach Martin Docherty lamented the effect of the coastal wind gusts on his team’s tactics and gameplay.

“Obviously both teams have got to play towards the conditions but when it’s as windy as it is and the field’s bumpy and the sun’s in your eyes at the same time that’s not conducive to NPL football,” he said.

Sharks captain Justyn McKay also conceded the conditions weren’t the best but expressed his relief at his side’s return to winning form.

“There was a little bit of luck that we probably haven’t got in recent weeks that we did get today, but in saying that we worked hard and made a bit of luck for ourselves,” he said.

Palm Beach SC  3 (Nik MIRCOVIC 24’, Justyn MCKAY 56’, Ethan GRIMLEY 91+3’)

FNQ FC Heat  1 (Shimon WATANABE 77’)