By Michael Flynn
Moreton Bay United are through to the Semi-Finals of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Finals Series after seeing off Edgeworth FC 3-1 at QSAC on Saturday night.
The win was Jets first ever on the national stage and came on the back of a match-defining performance from attacker Charles Mendy.
The Frenchman delivered the opening goal late in the first half before setting-up second half goals for Jackson Hall and Jordan Farina to seal the win.
Eagles found consolation in the final goal of the night when Domenico Bizzarri headed home in time added on.
A frenetic start to the Elimination Final saw a raft of chances fashioned at both ends inside the opening quarter hour.
Eagles’ Dylan Holz threatened to deliver the opener after just six minutes when he struck the post with a stinging long-range strike.
Jets sought a reply inside a minute as Royce Brownlie’s shot deflected just wide following a promising run and cut-back from Mendy.
Eagles again hit the woodwork only minutes later when Jets goalkeeper Luke Borean tipped a cross-cum-shot onto the frame at his near post.
The to-and-fro continued as frantic goalkeeping from Jim Fogarty foiled the Jets soon after – the Eagles custodian scrambling away a header from Stephen Green before recovering to save a follow-up strike from Jayke Cuschieri.
The pace proved unsustainable though as the match settled into a more subdued rhythm as the half progressed.
Bren Abbot-Hammel was the next to truly threaten just prior to the half-hour when he forced a full-stretched save from Borean from a long-range free-kick.
However, despite Eagles applying an increasing amount of pressure, it was the Jets that drew first blood on the counter attack – Mendy delivering a simple tap-in from Hall’s cutback after the lanky attacker intitiated the breakaway with a 40 yard solo run.
Buoyed by their opener, Jets continued to threaten early in the second stanza.
Green came close to doubling the lead only minutes after the restart when his deflected one-on-one strike bounced off the post after he was played through by Matt Capelo’s defence-splitting through ball.
The ever-present Mendy then spurned another chance approaching the hour, losing his footing at the crucial moment to blaze over the crossbar on the angle.
Despite the match continuing to transition quickly between the final thirds, clear-cut scoring chances proved increasingly scant for both sides until Jets delivered two quick goals to effectively seal the result.
The hosts doubled their advantage on the back of another swift counter-attack – Mendy’s rampaging run down the right ending with a cutback to Hall to deliver a deflected first-time finish.
Barely a minute later Mendy again did the damage – earning a penalty which was subsequently converted by last weekend’s PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Grand Final hero Farina.
The hosts could have extended their further in the final ten minutes as Hall was denied a brace by the crossbar and Brownlie sent a cheeky chipped effort wide of the post.
Eagles also saw late chances but seemed destined to be kept scoreless as Borean delivered another telling save to deny Bren Abbott-Hammel’s free-kick in time added on.
However, the visitors finally broke through from the ensuing corner as Joshua Evan’s flicked-on header bounced back off the crossbar for Bizzarri to nod home the consolation.
Jets now await the outcome of Sunday’s Elimination Final between Blacktown City and Canberra FC in Sydney to determine their Semi-Final opponent and venue.