Reds hold Fury at bay

Adelaide United has leapt into top spot on the Hyundai A-League table and ended the North Queensland Fury’s undefeated run with a 3-2 win at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night.

Adelaide United has leapt into top spot on the Hyundai A-League table and ended the North Queensland Fury-s undefeated run with a 3-2 win at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night.

Their reign at the top, however, will hinge on Sunday-s Perth Glory and Melbourne Heart showdown.

Isaka Cernak-s opened the Fury-s account in the seventh minute with a headed goal and they looked the better outfit until United-s Marcos Flores delivered a stunning equaliser in the 22nd minute.

The host's Brett Studman soured his debut in green with an own goal five minutes after the break before the visitors rubbed salt in the wounds six minutes later when Daniel Mullen-s unchallenged header from a cross sailed into the back of the net.

David Williams drilled the ball low into the right-hand corner of the net in the 86th minute to cause a nervous end to the game for the Reds but it was too little, too late.

The Fury had the early ascendency, with Cernak leaping high in the box to head in a cross from Eugene Sseppuya to take a 1-0 lead.

Cernak continued to threaten with a lightning dribble down the left wing leaving two defenders scrambling to catch him.

United hit back with Paul Reid lobbing the ball to Flores who was positioned at the tip of the box.

Flores accepted the ball on one leg and while keeping it in the air spun around to slot the goal with his other foot for a spectacular equaliser.

Adelaide had the momentum after the break with several attacking drives but it was a touch of luck that gifted them a 2-1 lead.

Justin Pasfield blocked a powerful strike and appeared to have quelled the threat but the ball fell to Lucas Pantelis who fired from out wide and into the sliding legs of Studman for an own goal.

The Fury tried to respond with Cernak and then David Williams poised at the top of the box but both were cut down from behind as the night simply got worse for the hosts.

Pantelis sailed in a corner with an unmarked Mullen rising for an easy header to make it 3-1.

The Fury did not give up with Williams stepping lightly through heavy defence before drilling the ball low into the right corner or the net to draw one back with four minutes remaining.

North Queensland's Dyron Daal then had an air swing at the ball as it pin-balled between around the 18-yard box, but Adelaide's defence held firm as the Reds impressive opening to the new season continues to gather steam.

North Queensland Fury 2 (Cernak 7, Williams 86) Adelaide United 3 (Flores 22, Studman 50og, Mullen 56) Crowd 6130 at Dairy Farmers Stadium