Western Pride returned to the top half of the table with a comprehensive 7-0 demolition of SWQ Thunder FC at Commonwealth Oval on Sunday.
Mid-season recruits Todd Norris and Mitchell Bird both struck doubles for the visitors, with Lincoln Rule and Jay Kitching adding to a Thunder own goal.
The win ends a four-match run without a win for Pride and leaves Thunder still searching for their first win of the season after ten games.
Pride dominated from the get-go but didn’t break through until 19 minutes into the contest when Jacob Bigby turned the ball in to his own net after slipping on the surface while trying to clear.
The visitors then raced to a near unassailable lead on the back of a quick-fire brace to debutant Bird on the half hour.
The former Redlands United player benefitted from two failed clearances from the Thunder defence – the first from a corner, the second from a cross – to deliver a pair of solidly struck volleyed finishes.
Norris then ensured a four-goal lead at half-time after heading into an empty net on the break after a run from Bird drew out Thunder goalkeeper Pierce Clark.
Thunder displayed more fight after the restart but despite holding out Pride’s attack until the final ten minutes couldn’t find the back of the net themselves.
Chris Hewson twice shot over the top of the crossbar around the hour mark for the hosts, while Nykodah Smith also failed to trouble Pride goalkeeper Bon Scott.
Norris secured his brace with eight minutes remaining after turning the ball home amidst a goal mouth scramble – his third goal in just four appearances for the club.
Rule added to the rout from the penalty spot on 85 minutes before Kitching pounced on a loose ball admidst a crowded penalty area to leave Clark unsighted in time added on.
Speaking post-match, Pride coach Karl Dodd dismissed suggestions the scoreline flattered his team.
“I think it could’ve been a lot more, it just took us a while to get back into gear in the second half. So I think 7-0 is a fair result,” he said.
Thunder coach Chris Wilkes disagreed with Dodd’s assessment but admitted his team needed to improve.
“(The team) are hurting in there but that’s the game. It has happened before and hopefully we can learn from it so it doesn’t happen again,” he said.
SWQ Thunder FC 0
Western Pride FC 7 (own goal 19’, Mitchell BIRD 29’ 30’, Todd NORRIS 45’ 82’, Lincoln RULE 85’p, Jay KITCHING 90+2’)