The Goulburn Valley Suns struggled to match it with strong National Premier League Two west division side Moreland Zebras on Saturday.
Nick Kalafatis’ men conceded three times in the away game and the playing coach was disappointed with the structural integrity of his defensive unit.
‘‘The better side won on the day, for us it was a step back from what we’ve been doing lately,’’ he said.
‘‘At times in the game our gaps were too big and defensively we lost our shape at times.
‘‘Against a side like that you get punished.’’
The Zebras are second on the west division ladder and performed as well as their record suggested they would, scoring in the 32nd, 59th and 66th minutes of the match to secure the 3-1 result.
Suns import Lewis Coyle scored a consolation goal for the away side in the 71st minute, but Kalafatis otherwise lamented his side’s inability to finish attacks well.
‘‘Our goal was quality, we moved it well from the left to the right and back to the left,’’ he said.
‘‘Shaun Kane took his player on and cut the ball back for Lewis to tap it in.
‘‘A lot of moments we had good build up, but the last pass wasn’t there, so we obviously didn’t capitalise on our opportunities.’’
While the Suns were missing Rob Hughes and captain Jamie England from the starting line-up, Kalafatis refused to use that as an excuse for the performance.
‘‘I always believe players coming off the bench should be able to perform,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m not disappointed with the boys, at times we just weren’t the shape we have been recently.
‘‘The boys off the bench had a good reality check.’’
The Suns are fifth on the east division ladder and Kalafatis hoped his troops could bounce back in time for a home clash with the Eastern Lions.
‘‘These games are the ones you really want to win,’’ he said.
‘‘No matter how well you’ve played, if you switch off for a moment against a quality opposition you’re going to get punished.’’