The North Queensland Fury have again shown the ability to win in Townsville, after Terry Cooke sealed victory in the 82nd minute against fellow new A-League club, Gold Coast United. The win means the Fury finish seventh in their first campaign, and denies their rivals a top two finish.
Robbie Middleby, in his last match of his professional career, was given the captain's armband for the match, and he was given a lap of honour for his services to Australian football.
Michael Thwaite had the first opportunity of the game, though his header failed to trouble Justin Pasfield inside the first five minutes. Moments later, Middleby caused a collision in his own box, though appeals were waved away by referee Ben Williams.
It was another Williams, North Queensland's David, who scored inside ten minutes against the run of play. On the counter, Williams hit the crossbar with his first effort, before a fortuitous bounce handed him a second opportunity, which he put away with ease to beat Jess Vanstrattan.
Jason Culina wasted a decent opportunity to hit straight back, with the miss raising questions of the tactical decisions to place him in an up-front role with Kiwi Shane Smeltz. Chris Tadrosse had the chance to double the lead in the 30th minute, failing to trouble United's defences.
On half an hour Miron Bleiberg turned heads when he made a substitution on the half-hour mark, with Zenon Caravella replacing James Brown, in a desperate bid for an equaliser. Caravella's presence was noted by referee Williams, lucky not to be red-carded moments later.
With the Fury up one-nil at the break, United had a clear change of tactic after Bleiberg team talk and pushed higher for a change of fortune. Aspirations of an equalising goal materialised, when Joel Porter found a gap through Pasfield's legs to find the back of the net in the 62nd minute.
Words were spouted throughout the affair, and both Culina and the Fury's Dyron Daal picked up yellow cards for dissent. It was North Queenland's Terry Cooke that would steal the limelight though, with his mid-range header at 82 minutes too good for Vanstratten. The lead was almost doubled moments later, though Netherlands Antilles international Daal could not convert a sealing goal. The Fury held on despite this, finishing off the season on a high note.