Western United bounced back in emphatic fashion with a 6-0 win over Perth Glory at UTAS Stadium on Saturday night.
The Green and Black unlocked the door in the 25th minute when Lachie Wales opened the scoring after Aleksandar Prijovic had missed a penalty.
Wales would add two more before the break to complete his first career hat-trick, while Dylan Pierias also struck in the first half to have the hosts leading 4-0 at the interval.
Prijovic made amends from the penalty spot early in the second half for his eighth goal of the season and Dylan Wenzel-Halls popped up with a sixth goal late in the game.
The win is the biggest in Western United’s history and ensures the Green and Black remain in second place, making the perfect start to the Macca’s Festival of Football in Tasmania.
Western United made one change to the starting XI after the defeat to Wellington Phoenix last week, with Rene Krhin dropping to the bench and Pierias coming into the starting line-up.
That allowed Wales to return to a central position up front alongside Prijovic, while Tomoki Imai continued at right-back in Josh Risdon’s absence.
Both sides were relatively slow out of the blocks, with very little in the way of chances at either end. Perth enjoyed most of the possession in the early stages but United began to build into the match.
The game was sparked into life when Western United was awarded a penalty in the 22nd minute for a handball, but Liam Reddy made a good save low to his left to deny Prijovic.
That disappointment kicked United into gear and it wasn’t too long until the Green and Black was celebrating in front of its Tasmanian audience.
United built a lovely attack down the left-hand side, with Ben Garuccio finding Connor Pain in position to shoot. The No.11’s goal bound effort struck Wales on the knee and flew into the net.
If Wales didn’t know much about that effort, he knew an awful lot about it when he struck a sumptuous second goal just two minutes later, burying a crisp volley from the edge of an area after Steven Lustica’s cross had been headed clear.
It was a nine-minute flurry for the Green and Black as Pierias made it 3-0 in the 34th minute. Some fantastic build-up play once again came down United’s left-hand side, allowing Pain to send a delightful ball across the six yard box for Pierias to smash into the net.
Wales capped off a blistering half for both him and the team, completing a hat-trick just before the interval when he stole in to convert an excellent delivery from Garuccio.
United smelled blood in the second half and immediately set about adding more goals to the scoreline by looking to get straight on the front foot.
After a couple of half chances in and around the box, Prijovic made amends for his first-half miss by converting from the penalty spot after Wales was brought down in the area.
The Serbian striker came close with his head moments later and Pierias nearly got his second with a sliding effort at the back post, with both efforts well saved by Reddy.
The match rather mellowed after that as United controlled the tempo of the game to see out the final half hour of the contest.
John Aloisi used his fill complement of substitutes to give valuable minutes to players off the bench, but there was still time for some more action in front of goal.
Nicolas Milanovic was bright off the bench and sent an excellent cross into the box which Wenzel-Halls was alive to, pouncing on the defender’s half-clearance to thump the ball into the bottom corner and wrap up the perfect night for Western United.