No top two for GCU

Gold Coast United have squandered a chance to finish in the top two after it lost to the North Queensland Fury 2-1 at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night.

Gold Coast United have squandered a chance to finish in the top two after it lost to the North Queensland Fury 2-1 at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night.

The result also saw the hosts avoid the wooden spoon in what was their most inspiring performance of the season.

The Fury opened the scoring in spectacular fashion with livewire David Williams finding the net in the eighth minute.

Williams sprinted down the wing and with a thunderous strike caught the crossbar forcing Terry Cooke to shoot but he was denied by a defender.

Williams pounced on the rebound to slot in the goal and bring the crowd to their feet.

The visitors responded in the 63rd minute through Joel Porter after he ran on to a flick from Shane Smeltz.

Porter sprinted around the defensive line before driving the ball hard and low into the net.

The Fury's Terry Cooke sealed the victory in the 83rd minute with a header after a cross from Paul Kohler.

Gold Coast looked set to score earlier when Porter ran past the defensive line on to a perfectly-weighted long ball.

Porter, however, could not shrug a chasing defender and his pressured shot failed to clear the jumping goalkeeper.

North Queensland made its first opportunity count when Williams set off the stunning chain of events that would lead to his goal.

Williams continued to threaten, winning the ball in a heavy midfield tackle before providing a through ball to Dyron Daal but he lost the foot race.

United showed its frustration when Zenon Caravella, who surprisingly began on the bench, lunged dangerously at Ufuk Talay to attract a yellow card.

Dino Djulbic was also seeing yellow for dissent after booting the ball away after it rolled into touch.

The Fury kept pressing with Cooke dribbling around a defender and towards goal but his shot curved across the face of the net.

Rostyn Griffiths had a chance after but his shot was fired straight into the goalkeeper's hands to finish the first half.

North Queensland maintained its ascendency but its marquee player Robbie Fowler was a shadow of himself.

Fowler lurched from play to play and when a cross found him in the middle of the goal box he was off the pace allowing the only defender to win the ball.

Gold Coast appeared all but out of the contest until Porter's moment of brilliance and skill to tie the encounter.

Jason Culina tried to snatch the game but tripped over his feet in the goal box and was given a yellow card for protesting with the referee for a penalty.

The Fury then made sure of the victory when Kohler and Cooke combined to seal the game.

North Queensland Fury 2 (Williams 8, Cooke 83) Gold Coast United 1(Porter 63) Crowd: 8517 at Dairy Farmers Stadium