A dominant City were rarely threatened against their lower table opponents at Clive Berghofer Stadium as they moved to within one win of a return to the national Round of 32.
Jarrod Kyle’s second goal of the cup campaign opened the scoring for City with a tap-in inside the opening quarter hour before Nik Mirkovic doubled the advantage from close range just minutes later.
Benjamin Lyvidikos effectively wrapped up the tie ten minutes before the break with a composed one-on-one finish past Thunder goalkeeper Luke Macdonald.
Thunder missed the chance to pull a goal back from the penalty spot in the first half when Matthew Edwards’ spot kick was saved by Matt Stein.
Despite a raft of chances in the second stanza, City’s only additional score game courtesy of an own goal – Rhys’ Saunder’s cross deflecting across the line off Thunder defender Keagan Sheridan at the near post on the hour.
While acknowledging his side’s attacking nous, skipper McKay said City’s defensive steel was again telling as they posted a third straight clean sheet in rainy conditions.
“Good teams build from the back and that’s certainly the case for us this year,” McKay said.
“We’ve been so much more resolute when it comes to not conceding sloppy goals, which is something we weren’t doing in recent seasons.”
“That gives you the confidence going forward to get goals.”
The match was City’s second in five days and they face another quick turnaround ahead of a return to league football against Western Pride on Saturday night.
McKay said squad depth is proving crucial as the demands of playing two competitions continue to increase.
“The last couple of weeks against Gold Coast Knights and Brisbane Olympic, it got to 60 minutes and things can get a bit flat when it’s nil-nil,” he explained.
“But we can bring on players like Rhys Saunders or Jacob Boutoubia that can give us a lift and that changes the whole game.”
“We also have the luxury to be able to rotate the squad when players need a bit of a rest. It’s a good position to be in as a team.”
City’s next opponent in the Westfield FFA Cup is Sunshine Coast outfit Caloundra FC, who City defeated on their way to the Round of 32 in 2014.CLICK HERE to view all of the Westfield FFA Cup Preliminary Round results from around the country.