GCU pinch three points

Gold Coast United left it late before securing a 2-1 win over North Queensland Fury at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Sunday night, which extends their unbeaten run to eight matches.

Gold Coast United left it late before securing a 2-1 win over North Queensland Fury at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Sunday night, which extends their unbeaten run to eight matches.

Adama Traore opened the scoring for United in the 12th minute as the visitors looked set to run all over the homeside before Mark Hughes snuck in a leveller 45th minute.

Dino Djulbic stole a winner in the 84th minute after the Fury appeared to have weathered a storm and were on track to grind out a draw.

The news could get worse for the Fury with defender Eric Akoto to receive x-rays for a suspected medial ligament.

Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg said he was disappointed his team did not dominate on the scoreboard after a dominate start.

“I think we dominated the game from the beginning and we were the better team but it was disappointing to go in at half time 1-1 instead of 2-0,” he said.

“We went into the second half with the same intention, it doesn’t matter if it was 1-1 or 2-0, we knew that we are the better team and deserved to win the game but second half credits have to go to the Fury they got better.”

North Queensland acting coach Robbie Middleby said his side was off the pace but refused to blame the off-field dramas mid-week.

“We worked during the week with the coaches and had everything down pat but a few of the boys didn’t turn up tonight which was a little disappointing,” he said.

“It was a little bit of a hiccup during the week but that should not have been a problem we have a lot of character.”

“I thought we were playing good football and with nicking one before the break with our character and commitment thought we would be in it.”

United dominated the first half but it was James Brown who received a clever through ball near the right post that caught them napping. Brown pulled up near the post and flicked the ball back to an unmarked Traore to slot into an open goal in the 12th minute.

The Fury’s first opportunity came when David Williams was brought down in the penalty box by two defenders with the ball spilling to an open Jack Hingert, but the angle was too sharp for him to find the net.

The homeside struggled to keep pace and their task became harder when Eric Akoto succumbed to a leg injury and was substituted for Chris Grossman in the 18th minute.

Gold Coast had a chance to end the first half with a second goal when Joel Porter passed back to Traore in the box in a replay of the opening goal but his shot was blocked by a defender.

North Queensland instead created something out of nothing with an Ufak Talay cross sailing into a cramped box and appearing to deflect off Hughes’ head and into the net for the equaliser.

United continued to threaten after the break with Porter racing down the right wing before stepping around the last defender and passing back to Jason Culina who pulled the trigger but his shot was blocked by a lunging Hughes to the relief of goalkeeper Justin Pasfield.

The Fury started to find their feet with a quick midfield movement finding Gareth Edds in open space just outside the 18-yard box. Edds wasn’t going to die wondering and let rip with a thundering left footer but it had more power than accuracy and curled past the left post.

Gold Coast then caught their opposition off guard again with a high long ball from Robson finding Djulbic in heavy traffic and he managed to head in the winner.

North Queensland Fury (Hughes 45)
Gold Coast United (Traore 12, Djulbic 84)
Crowd 7,195 at Dairy Farmers Stadium