Fury let it slip again

North Queensland Fury have squandered another early lead, this time against Wellington Phoenix, to finish 1-1 at a rain sodden Dairy Farmers Stadium on Monday night.

North Queensland Fury have squandered another early lead, this time against Wellington Phoenix, to finish 1-1 at a rain sodden Dairy Farmers Stadium on Monday night.

The Fury, though, were left infuriated after thinking they had scored a winner in the 90th minute after a tussle in the box, but the officials ruled the Wellington defenders had done enough to stop the ball from crossing the line.

Chris Payne opened the scoring in the 12th minute after a through ball from David Williams caught the defenders out, allowing him to race a third of the field unmarked and slot the ball past the defenceless Danny Vukovic.

Dylan Macallister levelled the scores, however, in the 76th minute after Nick Ward outclassed a defender on the right wing to invade the box before finding the striker with a low cross to tap it in.

North Queensland will be ruing the draw after dominating for the majority of the game by turning in one of their best attacking performances, despite it not translating onto the scoreboard. Wellington on the other hand, will count themselves lucky.

North Queensland forward Williams was in the middle of the disallowed goal and said he believed it had crossed the chalk.

"I think so but it is hard for me to judge right there and then. But I looked at the replay and it clearly showed, but no one in the sheds is going to know until they see the replay," he said.

"I know the touch judge had a post and a couple of players in the way but I think the ref was in a position to see it for himself."

"It was disappointing but I think we could have finished off the game with a few other chances, but it is something we have lacked in the last couple of weeks."

"We played well but we didn't finish it which is disappointing because we have the capability."

Wellington coach Ricki Herbert said he wasn't sure if it was a goal but denied his side had 'escaped' with the draw.

"I wouldn't say escape, I think when we got the goal we were right on the front foot," he said.

"I think we have all been in a position when the throw of the dice didn't go our way."

"It's a good point, it keeps us moving up the table."

"I think we would have been disappointed if we came to Queensland and didn't expect to see a side that wanted to get a result, they were pretty desperate and they showed it."

The weather gods had the biggest impact on the game with about 60mm falling two hours before kick- off on top of more than 400 mm in the previous 24 hours, leaving referee Jarred Gillet to reluctantly allow play.

The Phoenix threatened early, sustaining possession in the opposition half and peppering the goal box with measured long balls and two corners but keeper Justin Pasfield kept them at bay, punching the ball away with ease.

The Fury had better luck in the 12th minute when Williams threaded the ball to Payne to run past a high defensive line and shoot past Vukovic despite the ball almost rolling into the stoppers' hands due to a loose dribble.

Payne had another chance in the 27th minute when a well-weighted long ball left him one-on-one in the box with a defender but he doubted himself and refused to shoot or attempt a dribble and it cost him possession.

Williams threatened with an enterprising run in the 38th minute which finished with a thunderous strike that saw the wet ball bounce out of the keepers' hands and in front of him forcing the defenders to scramble to retrieve it.

Macallister had a chance to level the scores in the 44th minute when he received the ball in the middle of the box unmarked after some clever movement down the right wing, but the Phoenix forward wrong-footed himself, allowing a defender to pounce.

The Phoenix were more patient after the break as Marco Rojas found Macallister on the 18-yard line, the forward pausing and spinning around to shoot only to see the ball deflect off the legs of a defender to safety.

The Fury were bristling with confidence after a dominant first half and Payne showed it in the 59th minute by blasting a shot from outside the box that would have found the top of the net if not for a diving save from Vukovic.

Mark Hughes and Panagiotis Nikas then butchered a chance from the prevailing corner as the pair both tried to toe poke the ball past the keeper in a crowded box, but failed miserably with the pill rolling past the left post.

Nick Ward then dribbled down the right flank for Wellington and beat a defender on the 18-yard box to make his way infield before finding Macallister with a low cross to tap it and level the scores in the 14 minutes from time.

Williams used his speed in the 80th minute to dribble past his marker and team up with Payne and Dryon Daal to create a three-on-two in the box before offloading to Daal to shoot, although the forward sprayed it over the crossbar.

North Queensland Fury 1 (Payne 12) Wellington Phoenix 1 (Macallister 76) Crowd: 5,107 at Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville