The Goulburn Valley Suns under-20s were taught a footballing lesson on Saturday when the side travelled to Box Hill United.
Whether it was the travel or just a lack of enthusiasm, want and desire, Fred Zito’s side was caught on the hop as United scored two goals in 20 minutes at Wembley Park.
Gerry Kavadas converted from the spot to give the hosts the lead, before Nikola Surdoski profited from a goal-mouth scramble to score United’s second.
After 30 minutes, salt was further added into the Suns’ wound when midfielder Rocky Papalia slotted home before being called offside.
‘‘It was a hard angle for me to tell whether it was off or not,’’ Zito said.
‘‘You have to go with the referee’s decision.’’
The Suns were given a chance to claw themselves back into the contest when referee Ryan Haidar gave Oliver Paterno his marching orders.
Paterno received his second yellow with just five minutes to go in the first half, offering hope for the Suns as they went into the sheds at half-time.
A vocal Zito ordered his side to press, work hard and take the game to an understrength United, but it seemed to go in one ear and out the other as the coach was devastated with his side’s performance.
‘‘It is just disappointing, the boys did not want it and just did not work hard enough,’’ Zito said.
‘‘The intensity was not there, it was lacking in the warm-up, we started that way and that is how the game panned out in the end.’’
Playing with an extra man in the second half, the Suns still managed to concede as United controlled the tempo, strung passes together and even missed a gilt-edged chance to score from the spot.
Budding goalkeeper Declan Maiorana brought down Josh Markovski in the box, before captain Marko Bagaric blasted over the crossbar.
‘‘I wanted the boys to press and work in the second half. We were still in the game, but the message just didn’t get across,’’ Zito said.
‘‘We tend to have one of these games where we just do not show up. It is annoying.’’
The Suns had been in decent form of late, but will look to refocus as attention turns to next week’s home game against Werribee.
‘‘We have to regroup, work on what what needs to be addressed and focus on getting things right,’’ Zito said.
‘‘It is a big few weeks for us. We have to capitalise and to do that the boys need to lift and perform better.’’