An own goal is all that separated Goulburn Valley Suns’ under-20s and Melbourne City on Saturday.
Fred Zito’s charges put in a gallant performance, but Geordie Lelliott’s miscalculated clearance flushed the back of the net, resulting in a 1-0 loss to the Suns.
Zito, who was disappointed to lose, felt his side did relatively well despite not getting a result.
‘‘No-one likes losing, especially when you feel like you are in the game,’’ Zito said.
‘‘Unfortunately we had 10 minutes either side of half-time where we had a little concentration lapse and it cost us.’’
The Suns could have been further down at half-time if not for the brilliance of Clayton Scott.
The goalkeeper pulled off three remarkable saves in quick succession to make sure his side was still in the game, pleasing his coach.
‘‘Man of the match goes to Clayton Scott. He was brilliant and I think without him the scoreline would have looked far worse,’’ Zito said.
‘‘He pulled off a number of saves there to keep us in it, but unfortunately we lacked a cutting edge going forward.’’
Alou Koul, who has scored 14 goals in 20 matches, was absent from the starting line-up after he was rewarded with a call-up to the seniors by Nick Kalafatis.
‘‘We missed him and feel he would have really made a difference, we had no X-factor,’’ Zito said.
‘‘However it is great to see the young boys rewarded for their form and that is what we are about, helping develop the kids.’’
The result sees Zito’s side sixth on the table following the loss to the league leader.
Zito has now mustered up 34 points as the under-20s coach and, with four rounds to go has every chance of surpassing last year’s total of 37, which is the highest amount the under-20s have ever achieved.
The players face Dandenong Thunder on Saturday, a side two positions better off in fourth.