A 10-man Melbourne Victory went down to Northcote City 1-0 in the NPL2 West on Saturday.
Callum Freeman scored the game’s only goal just before half-time at John Cain Memorial Park.
Aaron Anderson was sent off for Victory early in the second half, while Matthew Sutton saved a penalty from Feston Azizi.
Benjamin Parsons-Collins saw red late on for Northcote and Victory fell after a huge battle.
Victory almost opened the scoring in the fourth minute through Nuh Sehavdic.
The forward was denied twice by Northcote goalkeeper Phillip Petrovski, who made two saves to deny Sehavdic from an angle.
While the host had more of the possession, Victory looked threatening on the counter-attack.
However, Northcote opened the scoring just before half-time, Freeman putting away a cutback from the right.
Victory was dealt a blow to begin the second half, Anderson picking up a second yellow card to be sent off as Northcote was awarded a penalty.
But Sutton stepped up to save Azizi’s penalty onto the post before the goalkeeper dived onto the loose ball.
As Northcote pushed, Victory centre-back Matthew Bozinovski headed a Jack Morton set-piece over the crossbar in the 78th minute.
Parsons-Collins was sent off late on for Northcote, which held on for three points.
Head coach Gareth Naven’s post-match thoughts
“I was really happy with the players. It was a difficult game in difficult circumstances with the condition of the pitch and adjusting in regards to how we play and how we move forward and attack. Obviously, game changes when you get a player sent off, things change a bit, but I was really happy with the way they went in at half-time, come out, stayed in the fight, responded really well, listened and executed instructions in regards to what we sort of wanted at half-time to stay in the match, keep us in a position where we’re still threatening going forward.
“I said to the boys it’s a really important performance because what type of performance would you say that is today and if anything it was definitely a brave, fearless performance and that’s what it looks like. People underestimate how players perform, a lot of people just look at the result and not understand the process on how players are performing and in these young groups they are understanding what it takes to perform and repeat a performance and remember the performance and understand your role and what am I giving to the team and that was really evident to me today and the rest of the staff.”
NPL2 West 2019 Round 25
Northcote City 1 (Callum Freeman 44′)
Melbourne Victory 0
Melbourne Victory: Matthew Sutton (gk) (c); Andrew Visciglio, Aaron Anderson, Matthew Bozinovski, Aydin Mustedanagic; William Wilson, Jack Morton; Nuh Sehavdic, Nicholas Hamakiotis (Nishan Velupillay), Yazid Said (Jack Marth); Jack Palazzolo (Robson Deme).
Victory’s under-20s continued their title push with a 4-2 win over Northcote City.