Robbie Middleby got the perfect send-off to retirement as North Queensland Fury upset Gold Coast United 2-1 at Dairy Farmers Stadium tonight. North Queensland Fury 2 (D.Williams 8th, T.Cooke 83rd) Gold Coast United 1 (J.Porter 62nd) Crowd: 8,500 The victory was not only a great farewell for Middleby, but it also meant that the Fury, playing in front of their second biggest home crowd of the season, avoided finishing the season on the bottom of the table.
The Fury dominated the opening proceedings and took a deserved lead after only eight minutes when David Williams, who would go on to dominate, was on hand to tap in from close range after only seconds earlier having his cracking shot on goal come off the crossbar.
The Fury outplayed Gold Coast throughout the half in terms of possession and shots on goal, but were unable to add to the scoreline.
Robbie Fowler had a great chance early in the second half but it was Gold Coast who found the net soon after, with Joel Porter scoring his 5th of the campaign to give the visitors hope of clinching a win and a shot at second place and the double chance.
The action heated up as the second half progressed, with yellow cards being issued to no fewer than six players and temperatures beginning to heat up.
With less than 10 minutes remaining, it was left to Terry Cooke to kill off Gold Coast with a well placed header, finishing a great cross from Paul Kohler.
Gold Coast captain Jason Culina was obviously disappointed with the result but looking forward to the new challenge of finals football.
Speaking to Foxsports after the match, Culina said: "We have to rethink, reorganise, because tonight was very dissppointing result. But the finals season is something different."