The under-20 Goulburn Valley Suns suffered a second close defeat in a row on Saturday, losing 1-0 to Dandenong Thunder.
The away side conceded just before half-time and could not find a way to equalise the contest.
Coach Fred Zito lamented the singular lapse in defensive concentration which handed Thunder’s Obiri Yeboah the only successful strike of the clash.
‘‘It was a very tight game, it was really only one defensive error that cost us the game,’’ he said.
‘‘The second half was good, we fought it out to the end but just couldn’t score to get the draw.’’
Harun Aktas replaced Geordie Lelliott early in the game (ninth minute), but as the match approached its climax Zito swung the changes again in the hopes of snaring a result.
Fraser Gosstray (62nd minute) replaced Emre Celik, while Brenton Urbaniak entered the fray in the 64th minute in place of Kyle Harris, but it was to no avail as time ran out without another goal.
‘‘It was a real team performance, but in the end one mistake can cost you,’’ Zito said.
Four Suns players were shown yellow cards during the game, but Zito said that while the battle was fierce it never got out of hand.
‘‘There was a little bit of feeling in it, but nothing too serious,’’ he said.
‘‘The ref was just keeping on top of things, at one stage he was handing them out like lollies.’’
Aktas (22nd minute), Celik (36th), captain Cooper Gosstray (41st) and Declan Maiorano (56th) all drew the ire of the referee throughout the match.
The Suns host Melbourne Victory after a league bye, and with only two games remaining in the season after that Zito has already begun looking towards the future.
‘‘We’ve been trying to play a few of the younger kids if they deserve it,’’ he said.
‘‘It will help us start preparing for next year.’’
Zito’s charges remain sixth on the under-20 National Premier League Two east division ladder, and are simply playing for pride in the final few matches.
The battle with Victory will be a tough one though, with the side sitting atop the west division table with 17 wins from 25 games, and five from the past six weeks.