GOLD Coast United went out with their heads held high despite losing 2-1 to a last minute winner by reigning champs Brisbane Roar in what could be the Robina side's last A-League game ever.
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Daniel Bowles opened the scoring for Gold Coast - condemned to pick up the wooden spoon after a season hamstrung by tight budgets and uncertainty - with a powerful shot on goal.
Against an equally young Roar side, the Gold Coast youngsters played their hearts out, eager to impress the other A-League clubs in the hope of picking up a contract next season.
Brisbane coach Ange Posecoglou chose not to field a full-strength side after Central Coast Mariners claimed the Premiers Plate earlier in the day with their 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix.
That result rendered the M1 Derby simply a game of pride for the Queensland sides.
But despite the lack of incentive, Roar bounced back in the second half and recovered a share of the points when Nick Fitzgerald pulled the trigger after a series of chances finally paid off in the 57th minute.
Both sides fought hard for the winner - with impressive Gold Coast looking the more likely - as the clock ticked down in front of a crowd of 6,102.
But it was Brisbane Roar who clinched the winner when George Lambaridis unleashed a scorcher on 90 minutes to seal victory for Roar.
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 much 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 Roar gloveman Andrew Redmayne.
That goal sparked 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 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
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