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North Queensland Fury cruelly denied winner against Wellington Phoenix

North Queensland Fury and Wellington Phoenix have played out a 1-1 draw in wet conditions with a controversial ending tonight.

Just over 5,000 fans turned up which was a poor result when considering that Fury management gave out free tickets but the weather forced many away. Those that did come, however, witnessed a largely entertaining encounter in tough conditions.

Chris Payne netted for the Fury in the 12th minute for his first goal since mid-October but Dylan Macallister was able to restore parity in the 76th minute to give both sides a share of the spoils.

Late in the game, both sides pushed hard for a winner and it was millimeters away for the Fury when Dyron Daal scored what looked like a goal from close range in injury time but two Phoenix players were able to clear it off the line to cruelly deny the home side victory.

The Phoenix moved up to seventh thanks to the draw but the Fury remained second bottom after Week 20.

A-League Week 20North Queensland Fury: 1 (Chris Payne 12') Wellington Phoenix: 1 (Dylan Macallister 76')

Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville Crowd: 5,107 Referee: Jarred Gillett Yellow cards:NQF - Andre Kilian 14' WP - Manny Muscat 20', Vince Lia 74'

On a wet night in Townsville, the Phoenix started brightly but their positive beginning went against them when Chris Payne scored the opener in the 12th minute. GOAL Fury winger David Williams played a neat through ball from just behind centre for Payne who had acres of space ahead of him. The promising striker took control of the ball before slotting past an advancing Danny Vukovic to give the home side the lead, slightly against the run of play.

Vukovic came up with a strong save from a Mark Hughes header six minutes later but overall, the players were finding it difficult to produce clear-cut chances as they were sliding and sliding everywhere. It was Payne who went closest in the 33rd minute when he tried his luck from the edge of the area.

Both sides were looking dangerous going forward but it was tough to find pinpoint crosses, therefore neither goalkeeper had too much to do in the opening 45 minutes, as the Fury went into the break with a goal advantage.

The Fury were soaking up the pressure early in the second term but decided to go after a second goal just before the hour-mark when Adam Hughes found space in the area but his shot from close range was kept out by Vukovic before Panny Nikas' rebound trickled agonisingly past the upright.

Gareth Edds went close in the 67th minute as the Fury again attacked but the next time the ball hit the back of the net, it was the Phoenix who put it there. GOAL Wellington substitute Nick Ward played a very smart ball from the right side of the penalty area into the six-yard box where a sliding Dylan Macallister was on hand to knock it home and square it up with 14 minutes remaining.

Fury sub Dyron Daal scuffed a great chance to put his side ahead less than four minutes after the equaliser when his shot flew over the crossbar before Ward did the same thing down the other end about five minutes later.

The visitors pushed hard for a winner in the dying stages but the Fury were able to hold out their advances and grab a point to snap a two-game losing streak.

Starting Line-Ups

NQFJustin Pasfield (gk), Brad McDonald, Adam Hughes, Ufuk Talay, Gareth Edds, David Williams, Panny Nikas (Daal 72'), Andre Kilian, Chris Payne (Grossman 89'), Simon Storey, Ramazan Tavsancioglu

Subs - Sebastian Usai (gk), Dyron Daal (72), Chris Grossman (89'), Jason Spagnuolo

WPDanny Vukovic (gk), Manny Muscat, Tim Brown, Leo Bertos (Daniel 61'), Chris Greenacre, Troy Hearfield (Durante 69'), Jade North, Vince Lia, Ben Sigmund, Marco Rojas (Ward 61'), Dylan Macallister

Subs - Reece Crowther (gk), Daniel (61'), Nick Ward (61'), Andrew Durante (69')

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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