Brisbane Roar notched up a 24th match without loss when they got past a determined North Queensland Fury outfit 2-1 tonight. It was top versus bottom at Gold Coast's Skilled Park in the Week 26 fixture which was rescheduled from Townsville on Saturday to tonight because of the flood situation in North Queensland.
Mitch Nichols scored with a lovely left-footed finish in the 14th minute to Kickstart the Roar before Brazilian winger Henrique grabbed his first of the season just prior to the hour-mark.
But the Fury never threw in the towel and were close to scoring all night until German import Andre Kilian got one past Michael Theoklitos for his maiden goal for the club.
However, it wasn't enough as the Roar inflicted the Fury's seventh defeat in a row and their ninth in their last nine outings in what has been an extremely disappointing season for the men in green.
Venue: Skilled Park, Robina Crowd: 1,003 Referee: Jarred Gillett Yellow cards:NQF - David Williams 70', Justin Pasfield 76' BR - Milan Susak 32'
The Fury made a bright start when David Williams made a neat run into the area receiving the ball in a dangerous position but Roar keeper Michael Theoklitos did well to cut the space before the speedy forward had another early sighter in the 7th minute indicating that the league leaders were not showing the cellar dwellers enough respect.
North Queensland had a shout for a penalty in the 12th minute when Roar centre-half Matt Smith felled Chris Grossman in the area with a clear push in the back as the 'home' side continued to cause a few a slight problems before the minor Premiers did what they were always going to threaten to do and get on the scoreboard.
GOAL Returning captain Matt McKay made a nice run down the left in the 14th minute before squaring it up for James Meyer who turned with his back to goal and teed it up for Mitch Nichols. His first shot from outside the area was blocked but the rebound fell nicely for him and he stuck it home nicely with his left from the edge of the box for his sixth of the season.
After the goal, Brisbane got into stride with their customary pinpoint passing and were beginning to create plenty more chances than their opponents who went close in the 41st minute when Williams tried his luck from long range but both sides were unable to again hit the back of the net before half-time in a contest lacking atmosphere and enthusiasm.
An early piece of great defending by Fury centre-half Mark Hughes kept his side in the contest before the Englishman denied Kosta Barbarouses with a textbook covering tackle in the 50th minute which certainly kept the Roar from scoring a second.
The Fury were close in the 54th minute when Adam Casey's crack from just inside the area deflected off Roar defender Shane Stefanutto and a couple of minutes later down the other end, Nichols' long range effort struck a Fury defender and went inches wide as both sides were striving to get on the scoresheet.
GOAL And a second goal came for the Roar in the 58th minute when Broich played a little dink into the area for Barbarouses who flicked it on for substitute Henrique, allowing the Brazilian to chip it past Justin Pasfield for the first of his injury-prone season.
Ufuk Talay, in his last home game for the Fury, was replaced on the hour-mark by youngster Panny Nikas about five minutes before the Townsville club got one back through German left-back Andre Kilian. GOAL Kilian advanced down the left before playing a cross into the area but he somehow managed to float it over the head of Theoklitos and off the post to give Franz Straka's men some slight hope.
Another Roar substitute, Rocky Visconte, came close when he tried his luck from way outside the area as the Roar continued their style full of passing and movement.
Straka handed an A-League debut to youngster Alex Read who replaced Kilian in the 76th minute as his side went about dominating possession in search of an unlikely equaliser before Henrique was centimeters from a second with a whipped left-footer from the edge of the box.
McKay turned the Fury defenders but had his shot blocked by Hughes in the 86th minute before Pasfield made a brilliant reflex save to keep out a Barbarouses shot after he was found inside the six-yard box by McKay who had a rebounded chance in what was the last play of any note for the match which ended 2-1 to Brisbane.
NQF Justin Pasfield (gk), Jack Hingert, Mark Hughes, Brett Studman, Andre Kilian (Read 76'), Adam Casey (Spagnuolo 68'), Ufuk Talay (Nikas 60'), Simon Storey, Brad McDonald, David Williams, Chris Grossman
Subs - Sebastian Usai (gk), Panny Nikas (60'), Jason Spagnuolo (68'), Alex Read (76')
BR Michael Theoklitos (gk), Ivan Franjic, Milan Susak, Matt Smith, Shane Stefanutto, Mitch Nichols, Erik Paartalu, Matt McKay, Kosta Barbarouses, James Meyer (Henrique 46'), Thomas Broich (Visconte 64')
Subs - Andrew Redmayne (gk), Henrique (46'), Rocky Visconte (64'), Matt Mundy