Melbourne Victory and North Queensland Fury tonight played out a scoreless draw at Dairy Farmers Stadium. The Victory, in their third match in six days, managed to go undefeated for the third time this week whilst the Fury returned from their week off with a point in front of their home fans.
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville Crowd: approx. 6,000 Referee: Chris Beath Yellow cards:NQF - Chris Grossman 40', Gareth Edds 51', Eric Akoto 52' MV - Ricardinho 57'
Melbourne were winning the battle in midfield in the early stages and looked almost certain to score with the likes of Billy Celeski and Carlos Hernandez proving to be a handful for the Fury but it was the home side who came closest to scoring in the 12th minute when defender Chris Grossman snatched at a shot when one-on-one with Victory keeper Michael Petkovic.
The Fury picked themselves up as the half went on and again came close when David Williams played a ball into the area towards Eugene Sseppuya but it avoided all players in the box and almost trickled past Petkovic to the back of the net.
The Victory needed to win back the ascendency and they did for a small period when Fury keeper Justin Pasfield produced a solid save from a Tom Pondeljak strike in the 35th minute and moments later, Victory defender Roddy Vargas had a header cleared off the line by Fury's Mark Hughes.
Both sides created slight chances in the final minutes of the first half but were unable to hit the back of the net and the opening 45 minutes ended 0-0.
North Queensland were making some impetuous challenges early in the second term but when they decided to play it was very efficient and they came agonisingly close to an opener in the 56th minute when Petkovic made a top-shelf save from a cracking Ufuk Talay strike from outside the area.
The three points were still up for grabs late in the second half as the Victory started to look tired in their third game in six days but a goal did not eventuate as the Fury recorded their first nil-all result in their short history.
NQFJustin Pasfield (gk), Brad McDonald, Eric Akoto, Mark Hughes, Ufuk Talay, Gareth Edds (Nikas 79'), Eugene Sseppuya (Spagnuolo 68'), David Williams, Chris Grossman, Simon Storey, Osama Malik
MV Michael Petkovic (gk), Surat Sukha, Leigh Broxham, Grant Brebner, Ricardinho (Kellaway 65'), Roddy Vargas, Billy Celeski (Angulo 87'), Tom Pondeljak, Carlos Hernandez, Evan Berger, Adrian Leijer
Subs - Sebastian Mattei (gk), Marvin Angulo (87'), Luke Pilkington, Geoff Kellaway (65')