Queens Park head Southland Football's Premier men's Donald Gray Cup league table following a 3-2 win over archrivals Southend United.
At the ILT Football Turf in Invercargill on Saturday, the game was expected to be a close encounter based on the results of the previous three Donald Gray clashes of the two teams.
Those resulted in a 4-3 win to Southend United and two draws, with Southend ahead 7-6 on goals scored.
Queens Park's Matty Burgess heralded his return to goal-scoring form when he completed a hat-trick of goals in the first half of Saturday's game, one from the outfield and two from the penalty spot.
Southend United's response was a Steve MacDonald goal when he was on hand to slot the ball home following a dropped ball "clanger" from Queens Park's goalkeeper Chris Pearson.
The teams went to the halftime break with Queens Park leading 3-1.
The vocal crowd in attendance was seeking more of the same in the second half but, although the pace of the game continued, there was just one more goal, another penalty, this time awarded to Southend for whom James McFelin reduced the score to 3-2 with his successful attempt.
The hesitation that was evident in the Southend United defence disappeared after the break and fullbacks Sam Flannery and Shae Wyering controlled the Queens Park attacking threat with more confidence.
For Queens Park their two off-season signings from Waihopai proved their value with strong defensive games.
"We didn't play well but we played well enough to win. The win is dedicated to our newcomer Jordan McIntosh, whose father passed away during the week. That was our motivation," Queens Park player/coach Cory Johnson said.
At Waverley Park, Old Boys, although somewhat under-strength, managed to shut out Thistle 7-nil.
Old Boys played the more structured football throughout the game and asserted their superiority in the early exchanges.
Thistle gifted an own-goal to their opponents to open the scoring when goalkeeper Josh Collins' attempted clearance deflected into the Thistle net. James Tucker increased the margin to 2-nil just minutes later.
Old Boys defended the two-goal lead until the halftime break.
"We realised we could and should have been ahead by more and the halftime chat was about turning our superiority into goals," Old Boys assistant coach Scott Mackenzie said.
The instruction seemed to fall on deaf ears for a while in the second half but, once the Old Boys unit netted their third goal, it was the end of Thistle's chances as the home team closed the game out with four more goals at regular intervals.
Goals from Atain Halley 2, Jack Boland, David Mwangi, Callum Smith, completed Old Boys' second-half blitz.
In Southland premier women's games, Queenstown Rovers and Southend United warmed up for next weekend's ASB Women's Knockout Cup games to be played against Dunedin Tech and Roslyn Wakari respectively, with comfortable wins in their games yesterday.
Queenstown beat Queens Park No 1 8-nil at the Events Centre in Frankton, with Patricia Johnson 2, Mamen Romero 2, Holly Aldred 2, Elle van der Geest and Rose O'Neill all on target for the resort team.
At Bain Park, Southend United were 6-1 victors over Waihopai.
The teams had earlier fought out a torrid final in the pre-season tourney, with Southend coming out on top 1-nil, so yesterday's result must give them some confidence for next Sunday's knockout cup encounter in Dunedin.
Southend's goal scorers were Nicole Dawson 2, and Hayley Munro, Tracey McKay, Lu Stainburn and Hilary Larson, while Waihopai replied with a goal by Theresa Rhein.
Division 1: Southend United 2, Western 0; Waihopai 3, Winton 2; Gore Wanderers Black 3, Thistle 3; Old Boys 2, Gore Wanderers Red 0.
Division 2: Cleanways Thistle 14, Queens Park Masters 0; Southend United Green 5, Waihopai 1; Old Boys Black 12, Old Boys White 1; Southend United Black 3, Western 1; Thistle Blue 3, Old Boys Red 0; Queens Park 2, Gore Wanderers 2. Women:Old Boys 13, Queens Park No 2 0; Gore Wanderers 14, Western Rovers 0; Southend United Development 6, Thistle 0.
- The Southland Times