GCU slump to Fury loss

North Queensland Fury have snapped a five-game winless streak with a 2-1 win at the expense of an injury-ravaged Gold Coast United in dreary and rainy conditions at Skilled Park on Wednesday night.

North Queensland Fury have snapped a five-game winless streak with a 2-1 win at the expense of an injury-ravaged Gold Coast United in dreary and rainy conditions at Skilled Park on Wednesday night.

United were without eight first team regulars due to injury and suspension and it showed as the hosts lacked the drive and attacking spark usually led by injured star Joel Porter, with a long-distance pearler from David Williams and a well-taken free kick from Fury captain Ufuk Talay sealing the three points.

It was North Queensland's first win on the road this season.

Captain Jason Culina was a late withdrawal for United with a knee injury and with so many players out, coach Miron Bleiberg shook up the team accordingly - but Dutchman Bas van den Brink eased his headaches after passing a fitness test and he took his now-usual position in midfield alongside Zenon Caravella and Robson.

Bleiberg also gave a start to two debutants - goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson and right back Josh Brillante - with promising rookie Ben Halloran on the wing and Steve Pantelidis a makeshift centre-back.

At the end of an otherwise uneventful opening 10 minutes, the home side had the first goal of the evening after a foul on Adama Traore just outside the danger area. Brazilian midfielder Robson took the ensuing free kick and his drive deflected through a flurry of North Queensland defenders and trickled past a pedestrian Justin Pasfield.

His opposite number Tyson spilled his first touch of the game off a Panny Nikas strike in the 16th minute, which fell straight to Dyron Daal who tucked away the scraps - but he was ruled just centimetres offside in a very lucky break for the debutant.

The wet weather made for trying conditions for the goalkeepers and the run of errors continued just moments after Tyson's reprieve, as Pasfield spilled a ball into the path of Kristian Rees, but his point-blank shot was blocked by a resolute Fury defence.

Tyson redeemed himself after a fingertip save from a Gareth Edds volley at the top of the box kept the Fury goalless - but for only seconds, as David Williams leveled the game shortly after with an absolute scorcher that will be a contender for goal of the season in the 28th minute.

Williams had the ball 30 metres out, looked up and launched a swerving drive that clipped the underside of the crossbar, past the reach of Tyson and into the back of the net, stunning the young gloveman mere moments after his heroic save.

Pantelidis was forced off midway through the second half after a clash of heads with Nikas and the former Melbourne Victory hardman left the field with a bloodied nose, making way for Anderson and a slight reshuffle that failed to restore creativity to the Gold Coast lineup.

Nikas came off the better of the two as he picked himself up and made a dazzling run forward, only to run into a Kristian Rees roadblock - and Fury captain Ufuk Talay took the resultant free kick with aplomb, curling the ball into the top left hand corner just outside the box in the 68th minute to give the cellar dwellers an unlikely lead.

There were few chances for the rest of the match, and United will be praying its injured stars recover in time to turn things around against Melbourne Heart at home again on Sunday afternoon, while North Queensland Fury will be delighted with their third win of the season and keen to continue in the same vein against Newcastle on Saturday.

North Queensland Fury 2 (Williams 28', Talay 68') Gold Coast United 1 (Robson 10') Crowd: 1,714 at Skilled Park, Robina