New Western Pride coach Graham Harvey has delivered a win in his first match in charge after seeing off Sunshine Coast FC 3-0 at Briggs Road Complex on Saturday.
Todd Norris struck the opening goal early in the first half before Harrison Sawyer struck twice in the second half to secure the win and keep alive Pride’s hopes of a top four finish.
The result extends Fire’s mid-season slump to nine PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland matches without a win and sees the club mired in tenth place in the standings.
Both sides looked dangerous early and exchanged half chances without success.
Pride drew first blood when Norris turned home a miscued strike from Gabriel Hawash on eight yards – the goal his fifth in nine games since joining the club mid-season.
Fire increasingly saw the better of the attacking opportunities approaching the half hour but proved unable to draw level as Kenya Takahashi shot wide and Pride blocked a trio of shots from a corner.
Pride also missed a chance to double their advantage prior to the break when Sawyer saw his headed attempt saved by Fire goalkeeper Dale Hill.
A lively start to the second half again delivered chances for both teams – Jacob Fulluck shaving the crossbar with an attempt from the edge of the area before Sawyer was once again denied by Hill.
However, Sawyer finally got the better of Hill only minutes later with a composed finish after being assisted by Norris.
Sawyer then struck again just after the hour finishing off a clever run from Mitchell Bird to deliver his seventh goal of the season.
Pride finished strongly and but spurned further chances to extend their margin – with Sawyer missing out on a hat-trick when he struck the crossbar with a solid strike with ten minutes remaining.
Speaking post-match, Pride coach Harvey acknowledged Norris and Sawyer sharing in the goals but explained he was more impressed by the full team performance.
“You can’t really single people out there tonight because off the ball the boys worked so hard to shut Sunshine Coast down,” Harvey said.
Fire coach Paul Arnison conceded his team had not performed and that with the season winding down he will look to blood younger players in the senior squad.
“It’s not working with what we’re going with at the minute so I will look to change things next weekend,” Arnison said.
Western Pride FC 3 (Todd NORRIS 15’, Harrison SAWYER 52’ 68’)
Sunshine Coast FC 0