Fowler scores, Fury lose

Robbie Fowler may have marked his first appearance for North Queensland with a goal, but it wasn't enough to prevent Wolverhampton winning 2-1 on Wednesday night.

Robbie Fowler may have marked his first appearance for North Queensland with a goal, but it wasn't enough to prevent Wolverhampton winning 2-1 on Wednesday night.

Coming on in the 54th minute, Fowler looked untroubled by the hip and groin injuries that have plagued his pre-season so far, the Liverpool legend making no mistake from the spot as he converted a 67th minute penalty.

Wolves, though, opened the scoring in their second Australian match through Andy Keogh in the second minute, before giving up a host of chances throughout the first half.

Fowler's entry brought the match to life though. Despite appearing a little rusty, he soon justified his marquee status when he buried the spot kick after Wolves captain Jody Craddock crudely brought down Jeremy Brockie in the area.

But Craddock atoned for his error just seven minutes later, the towering defender getting on the end of a quality corner from Andrew Surman, his close-range header bundled over the line with a few deflections along the way.

North Queensland's luck seemed to be in within the first minute when a powerful back pass by Wolverhampton crashed into Daniel McBreen's back, forcing Wolves' stopper Carl Ikeme into a hasty save.

But, just as they did against the Glory, the Premiership club opened the scoring in the second minute, Irishman Keogh being in the right place to fire home from close range after a shot by Sam Vokes was parried into his path.

Keogh had been unlucky not to score against Perth last Friday but he seemed intent on making up for this as he forced a save from Fury stopper John Henderson in the 11th minute.

Three minutes later, the Wolves' defence was prised apart, a quality header from Jason Spagnulo releasing Robbie Middleby, whose effort forced another save from Ikeme.

New Wolves' signings Greg Halford and the impressive Nenad Milijas both forced saves from Henderson with half-chances but that was as good as it got for Wolves as North Queensland started to take control of proceedings.

Ten minutes before the break another good ball by Spagnulo released Freddy Agius on the left, the winger's cross just missing Middleby in the box, while Agius' free kick three minutes later went high and wide.

Both sides made a host of changes at half-time and it was two of the incoming players that started causing problems, Surman forcing Henderson into a save with a shot on target before Matthew Jarvis's effort ricocheted around the North Queensland box.

Fury striker Chris Grossman found himself on a fast break in the 48th minute but he fired his effort wide before Fowler's arrival for McBreen brought the crowd to life.

The 35-year-old marked one of his first touches with a 35-metre effort that went well astray before Fowler's lay-off released Grossman, whose deflected shot was tipped around the post by Wolves' substitute stopper Wayne Hennessey.

Seven minutes after the hour a great Fury cut-back from the goal-line saw Brockie take possession four metres out before being bundled over by Craddock, allowing Fowler to take his spot kick.

But Wolves weren't to be denied as they upped the intensity, forcing a corner in the 73rd minute following a marauding run by Jarvis, who was well tackled in the area by Paul Kohler.

From the Surman corner, Craddock rose to power the ball home, although it may have come off Richard Stearman's toe in a tangle of bodies on the line.

Wolves could have extended the advantage as Halford produced the goods late in the match, the former Sunderland man sending in a beautiful through ball that Vokes fired over, before cutting the ball back in the 88th minute for a Sylvan Ebanks-Blake header that Henderson palmed to safety.

North Queensland Fury 1 (Fowler 67p) Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 (Keogh 2, Craddock 74)