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Jan 14, 2011

Djite finds his form as Fury wilt

Two goals from former Socceroos striker Bruce Djite helped Gold Coast United to a 4-0 A-League win over North Queensland Fury at Skilled Stadium.

The result ended a run of four matches without a win for Miron Bleiberg's side and kept alive their hopes of a top-two finish.

The game also marked a goalscoring return for New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz following a disappointing stint with Turkish side Genclerberligi that saw him score just once in just nine appearances.

Smeltz, who found the net 19 times for United last season, has rejoined the club on a contract until the end of the campaign.

As a mark of respect to the victims of Queensland's horrendous floods, both sides observed a minute's silence before the game and wore black armbands, while United's cheer squad held signs showing where to donate money.

For Djite the game marked the end of a frustrating run of 14 games without a goal.

The American-born hitman opened the scoring in the 21st minute after he latched onto a great through pass from Bas van Den Brink.

The former Adelaide United striker's second goal was created by Smeltz on the stroke of halftime, and Djite slammed the shot into the legs of Fury goalkeeper Sebastian Usai, before it bounced over the line.

Smeltz, who had not played since November, had an immediate impact on a side sorely out of form and missing skipper and playmaker Jason Culina.

The Kiwi injected pace and precision into the attack and with Culina set to return after the Asian Cup at the business end of the season, United will have a formidable line-up heading into the finals.

Smeltz, managed his own price of brilliance when he broke clear and ran onto a John Curtis pass to slot the ball past Usai in the 52nd minute.

Striker Chris Harold scored his first ever senior goal to put the cream on the cake in the 83rd minute.

Bleiberg was pleased with the win but put the result into perspective when he spoke about the uncertainty of knowing if his family home in Fig Tree Pocket survived the floods.

He said his family had left their house and he did not know if it had been inundated although he saw footage on TV which suggested the water was extremely close and he was bracing himself for the worst.

"There are more important things than football alight, so let's put things in proportion," Bleiberg said

"Only tomorrow will I know the extent of the damage.

"I enjoyed the win, but six o'clock tomorrow morning off we go to see what happened and hopefully it's not too bad."

He acknowledged Fury coach Franz Straka stuck to his rotational system and played a young side but said the way United won would be a major confidence booster for the side.

"It was good to win and good timing and I'm happy we scored a few goals and we kept a clean sheet," Bleiberg said.

"If you asked me before the game what I want the result to be, I would say that is a dream come true.

"But to be fair to Fury, they could put probably a stronger side than what they put today."

Straka said the first two of United's goals were through pure defensive lapses in concentration and was really the end of the match.

"They were two easy mistakes," Straka said.

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