Roar break Gold Coast hearts
If it was to be their last ever match in the A-League, this wasn't the way Gold Coast United wanted to sign off - a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to archrivals Brisbane at Skilled Park on Sunday.
Two cracking second-half goals from Roar youngsters Nick Fitzgerald and George Lambadaridis were enough to hand United's big brothers a stunning comeback win in what could be the final edition of the M1 Derby.
Gold Coast opened the scoring in the first half through Adelaide-bound wing-back Daniel Bowles, but the game slipped from their grasp in the second stanza as a well-drilled, second-string Brisbane side piled on the hurt.
The embattled wooden spooners are facing possible extinction if FFA cannot come to an agreement with a consortium of businessmen interested in taking over their license, and their bitter adversaries showed them zero mercy.
Making it worse was the fact that the match was effectively a dead rubber for second-placed Brisbane, after Central Coast clinched the premiership, prompting Ange Posteocoglou to give six of his big guns a rest.
Matthew Smith, Ivan Franjic, Mohamed Adnan, Mitch Nichols, Thomas Broich and Michael Theoklitos were all handed a welcome night off ahead of the Roar's finals campaign and the rest of their AFC Champions League run.
Even with a youth-heavy side though, the Roar controlled possession and territory for most of the match.
But the Coast, playing only for pride, were defending in numbers and managed to blunt most of their attacks in the first half.
Eventually their patient approach yielded a reward just before the half hour mark, with Bowles slotting home his second goal of the season on an assist from playmaker Peter Jungschlager.
Bowles read the Dutchman's pass perfectly, beating the offside trap and holding his nerve to thump the ball past the Roar gloveman Andrew Redmayne.
That goal sparked the Roar into action, and only two terrific saves before the break from in-form Gold Coast custodian Jerrad Tyson kept Henrique from equalizing.
But the game opened up once the two sides emerged from the sheds, with the Roar turning up the heat on their embattled rivals.
Fitzgerald was at the centre of it all, and his 58th minute goal was a case of third time lucky.
Before opening his professional account, the young forward had one shot blocked by Zac Anderson and later passed the ball away when he probably should have had a crack.
But Fitzgerald could not be denied with his wicked, low shot from the top of the box that curled around Tyson and crashed in off the far post.
He was just about outdone by teammate Lambadaridis, who struck for his own debut A-League goal in stoppage time.
The substitute shattered the hearts of the Gold Coast faithful with his late tracer-bullet shot that gave Tyson absolutely no chance as it flew into the top corner.
In an intriguing sub-plot, Besart Berisha missed the chance to break the all-time A-League scoring record set by Shane Smeltz when he uncharacteristically skied his 86th minute close-range effort.
Brisbane Roar 2 (Fitzgerald 58, Lambadaridis 90)
Gold Coast United 1 (Bowles 29)
Crowd: 6102 at Skilled Park, Robina