Northern Fury have won their first ever Tropical Derby, edging rivals FNQ Heat 3-2 at Barlow Park in Cairns on Saturday night.
All five goals came in the second half, with Michael Eisenhut’s brace adding to a goal on debut for Joe Thornton to earn Fury the points.
Heat topped and tailed the scoring with the opener to Mqondisi Nkiwane and a late consolation from Alex Smith.
Heat suffered an early setback when Jamie Gosling was substituted with injury before chances were spurned by both sides – Nkiwane and Thornton both shooting over the crossbar.
The target continued to prove elusive prior to the break with Jonathan Bagley and Jacob Crowley unable to get their attempts on goal for the visitors as the teams went into half time still deadlocked.
The floodgates opened after the restart, Nkiwane netting the opener prior to the hour from a long throw which saw him tuck away a neat finish into the bottom corner.
Fury replied via a penalty after Jamie Carroll fouled Fury debutant Jacob Richards – Thornton converting with his spot-kick.
The visitors pulled ahead for the first time only minutes later, Eisenhut benefitting from Crowley’s deflected shot for his first of the night.
The contest continued to open up further as Smith forced a save from Fury goalkeeper Joe Simon before Samuel Herlihy struck the crossbar down the other end.
Eisenhut doubled Fury’s advantage with his second on the night, getting in behind the defence and slotting his shot assuredly.
Heat’s hopes of a fightback were dented in the final ten minuets with the dismissal of Cameron Morrison reducing them to ten men.
Smith scored a penalty in time added on but it offered little consolation for Heat coach Martin Docherty speaking post match.
“I think we lot to a stupid goal that made it one-each and we’ve let ourselves down to be honest,” Docherty said.
He added pointedly, “It’s unbelievable. I didn’t think there was that little self-belief in the group.”
Fury coach Ian Ferguson was understandably full of praise for his players and pleased with the result.
“It’s a great start for us and three points on the road and we got to be delighted with that,” he said.
FNQ FC Heat 2 (Mqondisi NKIWANE 53’, Alex SMITH 90+1’(p))
Northern Fury FC 3 (Joe THORNTON 59’(p), Michael EISENHUT 62’ 67’)