Fury oust Glory in wet

North Queensland gave former coach Ian Ferguson a hostile homecoming, dealing the newly-appointed Perth tactician a 2-1 defeat in his first match in charge of the Glory.

North Queensland gave former coach Ian Ferguson a hostile homecoming, dealing the newly-appointed Perth tactician a 2-1 defeat in his first match in charge of the Glory.

Fury striker David Williams netted the winner in the 72nd minute at Dairy Farmer Stadium to give the hosts their first victory since week two and stretch Perth’s losing streak to five matches.

Perth may have adjusted to the torrential conditions faster but it was North Queensland that opened the scoring through Chris Payne, lashing his shot past the outstretched figure of Aleks Vretseki in the 16th minute.

But the wonder strike was promptly cancelled out by a defensive mix up. No amount of back peddling from Fury centre back Mark Hughes could deny Baird from linking with Anthony Skorich to tap in a 22nd minute equaliser.

Payne’s efforts in scoring the opener and setting up the clincher were praised by Hughes.

The Englishman found the world-class showing all the more impressive with the 20-year-old starring in front of Socceroos coach Holger Osieck while playing with illness.

“That strike was international quality,” Hughes said.

“And fair play to him (Payne) for not being well either, he could easily have thrown in the towel… but he putting 85 minutes of hard graft into that match.”

“It’s good to see the Australian coach watching this game and seeing these young players because it can only be good for Australian football.”

It was Payne’s first strike, however, that stung Ferguson most.

“I was pleased with the first 30 minutes, I thought we were in control of the game… then we got that sucker punch which was some poor defence by us but a great finish by boy.”

North Queensland went on to control what remained of the opening stanza. Vice captain Gareth Edds was at the heart of the Fury’s most positive passages of play.

His first contribution was a dipping 38th minute cross that skimmed dangerously across the face of goal and on to the far post where Brad McDonald was lurking. The winger’s sweetly struck effort, however, crashed off the upright.

Edds then found himself on the end of a finely crafted Ufuk Talay chip, ghosting in behind Perth’s defence. The Glory, however, managed to quickly recover and shield Vrteski from being called upon again.

North Queensland coach Franz Straka was heartened by determination in the display.

“In the first half we started slow, but after 15-20 minutes we started to play our game, exactly what I wanted to see, short passing, get it out wide and patience in situations,” he said.

Driving rain at half-time seemed enough to give Perth sure footing in the game once again.

Menacingly it was winger Todd Howarth that whipped a dangerous ball into the box which against triggered panic in the Fury defence, only for Skorich to prod his shot over the bar.

Neither side created much going forward until the 72nd minute when Payne turned provider, splitting the Glory defence with a intricately placed through ball to Williams who coolly slotted the winner.

A bounding run by substitute Eugene Sseppuya had Perth scrambling to hold the Fury who were flooding forward in numbers. The Ugandan’s final pass, however, caught Payne and Edds competing for the same patch of turf. There to latch onto the loose ball was Williams, who drilled his effort high of the mark.

It was enough to keep Straka on edge in the dying stages.

“When you have the opportunity to decide the game and you don’t then you have fear in the last minutes of the game,” he said.

Perth tested the Czech’s nerves by pushing forward, but failed to force a save from Fury goalkeeper Justin Pasfield.

North Queensland Fury 2 ( Payne 16 Williams 72)
Perth Glory 2 (Baird 22)
Crowd: at Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville.