A second-half hat-trick from talisman Liam Hunt sealed a vital 6-3 victory for Quinns FC over Kwinana United at Gumblossom Park on Sunday.
Unbeaten in their last five Belt Up Amateur Premier Division matches, Quinns made the ideal start with striker Liam McManus scoring inside the first 60 seconds following delightful lead-up play from Andrew Pandeli.
Kwinana’s start went from bad to worse when Blake Solowski was sent off for a dangerous challenge after 28 minutes, before Wayne Carter doubled Quinns’ lead from the penalty spot four minutes later.
The visitors halved the deficit on 34 minutes courtesy of Lee Bates, who beat Quinns keeper Frazer Imrie after latching on to a scything through ball from David Clark.
However, the home side restored their two-goal advantage just prior to half-time when a defensive error saw Pandeli gain possession on the edge of the 18-yard box. The Quinns playmaker had his shot spectacularly parried by Kwinana stopper Jack Adams, only for the rebound to find its way to Carter who completed his double.
Kwinana surged forward immediately after the break and again cut the lead to one when Johnathan Arbyn powerfully headed a precise Bates cross into the top right-hand corner of Imrie’s net.
Hunt then began his takeover, scoring his first on 57 minutes after exquisite lead-up play from Pandeli and McManus.
Kwinana hit back once more, with the towering Shane Nunez heading home an incisive Shane Boyle free-kick to make it 4-3 on 70 minutes.
Hunt scored his second on 75 minutes when steering a left-footed strike past Adams after a fine solo run on the right wing.
The gifted striker, who played as Quinns sole attacker for much of the second -half, showcased more impressive footwork when rounding Nunez and striking home to complete his hat-trick a minute later.
Quinns coach Robert Kelly was impressed with his side’s performance.
“We tried to overrun them in the middle of the park,” Kelly said.
“We started well, they got back into the game very quickly but we made some changes at half-time and in second-half I thought we took control of the game.”
Kelly believes his team is building towards a strong finish to the season.
“We play Wembley next week who we are level on points with and we fancy our chances to go a clear third after that game.”
Kwinana coach Paul O’Brien believes his side were firmly on the back-foot after being reduced to 10 men.
“When we got the man sent off we had to reshuffle at the back and it sort of cost us in the end I think,” O’Brien said.
“We had some defensive lapses and some individual errors cost us the game.”
Quinns travel to Wembley next Sunday with both sides on 23 points, while ninth-placed Kwinana will do battle with Belmont Villa.
Star player: Liam Hunt (Quinns FC)
Quinns FC 6 (McManus 1min, Carter pen 32 44, Hunt 57 75 76)
Kwinana United 3 (Bates 34, Arbyn 47, Nunez 70)
Sunday, July 22
Quinns FC: 1. Frazer IMRIE, 3. Ellis BROWNE, 9. Liam HUNT, 10. Liam McMANUS (2. Leyton HUNT 68), 12. David LONG, 13. Andrew PANDELI (8. Lee BARLOW 61), 14. David ASHWORTH (17. Nick HOPKINS 73), 15. Wayne CARTER, 16. Craig TAYLOR, 27. Mark HYNES, 29. Tom ASHWORTH
Yellow cards: Imrie, Taylor
Red cards: Nil
Kwinana United: 1. Jack ADAMS, 3. Brad TITHERINSTON, 5. Michael MUSTERTON, 8. Shane BOYLE (4. Ashley WATSON 88m), 9. Christian HOGG, 10. Glen SMITH, 11. Blake SOLOWSKI, 12. Lee BATES, 13. David CLARK, 15. Shane NUNEZ, 16. Johnathan ARBYN
Substitutes not used: 2. Les DARKE, 7. Alman KAMARMSHTER, 69. Luke HIGGINS
Yellow cards: Titherinston, Boyle, Arbyn
Red cards: Solowski