Bayswater moved two points clear in the Football West All Flags Premier Division table after English striker Steve Burton inspired a fantastic comeback win over his former club Balcatta.
Burton bagged a hat-trick as the league leaders roared back from 2-0 down to win 4-2 at Grindleford Reserve.
“I’m very happy, although it’s against my old club it’s still nice, we’re in the running for the title and given Stirling drew, it puts us in a good place,” Burton said.
The home side made a perfect start and were ahead on 24 minutes when Simon Versaico's deflected shot looped over Devon Spence. And two minutes later they doubled their lead, skipper Ashley Rosindale volleying home to put Bayswater’s title dreams on hold.
But two minutes before half-time Burton gave Bayswater a lifeline when he fired low past Alex Dunn to reduce the margin to 2-1.
In the second half Bayswater took control and levelled in the 70th minute, Burton bundling the ball home from close-range after Trent Kay had flicked on Todd Howarth’s corner.
The former Scarborough and Crawley Town striker completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute when Balcatta defender Simon Elton-Bott dragged down Brian Farrell. The defender was sent off as Burton kept his nerve to score from the spot.
James Isaia added the fourth moments later, but the day ended a sour note when Farrell was sent off late in the game.
Bayswater Coach Chris Coyne thought the goal late in the first half was crucial. “I think if we’d come in at half time two-nil down then I might have been a bit worried,” Coyne said. “As soon as the boys took on what we spoke about at half-time we started moving the ball a lot more.”
Stirling lost ground to Bayswater in the race for the title after they were held to a 1-1 draw against Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens.
An upset looked on the cards when Perth youngster Frank Furaro scored in the opening minute of the second half, but former Republic of Ireland under-21 international Gareth McGlynn levelled two minutes later.
Both sides had chances to win the game late but while the points were shared, Stirling Coach Gary Williams still believes they are in a strong position to take out the league title.
“We’re unbeaten in 14 games, playing extremely well, and with a game in hand are now in charge of our own fate in regards to winning the league title,” Williams said.
Elsewhere, Sorrento and Joondalup played out a 1-1 draw in the northern derby at Percy Doyle Reserve, Ryan Pearson gave the home side the lead in the 82nd minute, but Joe Knowles levelled for Joondalup in the 94th minute.
Floreat also scored late to grab a 1-1 draw against Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. Dannie Richman was on target for Armadale, before Benny Kouakou equalised nine minutes from time.
Bunbury dealt Inglewood’s top five finals hopes a blow after 3-1 win at the Intiga Stadium, Greg Sharland giving the home side the lead but goals to Liam Hutchinson, Ryan Francis and Steve Howson delivered the points.
Meanwhile, a goal from Perth Glory trialist Harry O’Brien was enough for Cockburn to defeat the Football West National Training Centre 1-0 at Dalmatinac Park.