Brave Glory go down in Townsville storm

A brave Perth Glory has gone down fighting to North Queensland in a 2-1 loss at a sodden Dairy Farmers Stadium on Friday night.

A brave Perth Glory has gone down fighting to North Queensland in a 2-1 loss at a sodden Dairy Farmers Stadium on Friday night.

In a rugged and entertaining battle between the two sides, the Fury took the lead in the 16th minute through an outstanding Chris Payne strike.

As new Glory Interim Head Coach Ian Ferguson looked on, his charges hit back hard as Michael Baird popped in the equaliser five minutes later.

But a stern test was finally settled when David Williams used his pace to burn off the Perth defence and slide in the winner with 18 minutes remaining.

The Glory laid siege to the Fury goal in the dying stages, but couldn't find the back of the net as North Queensland held on.

"It's very disappointing," Glory midfielder Steven McGarry said at the end of the match. "It's been a very disappointing week."

The Glory had started with real intent as the players looked to break a run of four losses that saw former coach Dave Mitchell step aside three days ago to take up a role as football director at the club.

His interim replacement, Ferguson, marked his first game in charge - ironically against his old side North Queensland - by selecting an attacking line-up.

Michael Baird led the line from the front while young striker Anthony Skorich was given the opportunity to replace star man Robbie Fowler, who was unavailable.

Baird's pace was causing problems by the sixth minute as he was narrowly flagged offside when about to run unchallenged at Justin Pasfield's goal.

A minute later, Pasfield did well to palm away a curling effort from McGarry that looked to be heading just into goal, while Skorich nodded the resultant corner over the bar.

However, the Glory got caught out in the 16th minute, when Williams laid it off to Payne on the right.

Caught out by the quick counter, the Glory defence couldn't shut Payne down and the young striker lashed in a superb angled drive from 15 metres that gave goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski no chance whatsoever.

But the Glory soon leveled the encounter as Baird set off on a barnstorming run from midfield. Using pace and power, Baird beat three defenders to burst into the area before passing to Skorich on the left.

Showing good composure, Skorich ignored Pasfield and a defender closing in as he flicked the ball back for an unmarked Baird to tap in his first in Glory colours.

As both sides slugged it out before half-time, the Fury could have taken a lead into the break as striker Brad McDonald lashed a fierce effort into the bar before a half-chance to Gareth Edds was saved down low by Vrteski.

Five minutes into the second half, Skorich had a chance to give Perth the lead in a tussle of bodies in the penalty area. But the youngster lost his footing as he went to strike and fired wide.

That was his last chance of the night as he was replaced by Branko Jelic on the hour, the Serbian striker showing off his predatory instincts with several incisive runs into the box.

One of those in the 66th minute almost saw him give Perth the lead as he controlled the ball well only for Fury defender Eric Akoto to get his foot to the final shot, driving it astray.

A minute later Jelic saw another shot blocked by a desperate Mark Hughes who dived in to deny the striker a goal.

The Fury's defensive efforts proved worthwhile, however as Williams gave them the lead in the 72nd minute.

As teeming rain lashed the ground, reducing visibility heavily, Payne brilliantly set up Williams with a deft through ball that bisected the Glory defence and allowed the speedy striker through for a one-on-one with Vrteski, Williams finishing with consummate skill.

Two minutes later, the Glory's defence was exposed by a quick Fury counter but impressive defender Andy Todd, somehow managed to beat four attacking players and deny North Queensland a goal.

His efforts set up a dramatic finish in an almost biblical storm as second-half Glory substitute Jamie Harnwell headed narrowly wide of goal in the 85th minute before Jelic couldn't quite finish off a brilliant McGarry cross during injury time.

North Queensland Fury 2 (Payne 16, Williams 72) Perth Glory 1 (Baird 21)