Melbourne Victory finished its NPL2 West season with a 3-1 loss to Werribee City on Saturday.
Bradley Murray and Trevor Ssemakula scored from the penalty spot for Werribee either side of Jay Kelly’s header.
Ryan Lethlean, 16, netted late on for Victory, which fielded a starting XI that included 10 players aged 18 or younger.
Werribee struck twice in the opening 17 minutes to take control of the encounter.
Murray opened the scoring from the penalty spot, before Kelly headed in a corner.
Victory grew into the encounter and midfielder Nicholas Hatzigeorgiou, 17, curled a 30-yard free-kick just over.
The visitor continued to push but instead conceded another penalty midway through the second half, Ssemakula converting for Werribee.
Victory was rewarded with a goal through Lethlean, who put away a rebound after Jack Morton hit the post, but it was unable to find another.
Head coach Gareth Naven
“I think there were a lot of positives out of that match, some younger players showing their worth and showing their ability to play well in men’s football. We had Ryan Lethlean, young William Wilson, midfielder, came on, operated really well when he came on and Matthew Stosic swapped in at left-back.
“More than that, I’m really happy with some things we tried to implement at half-time even though the score was not favourable, which is fine. We just wanted to try improve some performances from the previous week and maybe a little bit more tactical insight from us in understanding what Werribee are doing, where we can hurt them and it’s just the small things that matter – one yard for us could give us a massive advantage rather than one less yard for us in regards to the small things in football, the detail in football, it’s so important.
“I’m really happy with the way they finished the season off in their effort, their attitude, their growth and their mindset in regards to playing men’s football and their growth individually as well, becoming really mature in their commitment to training and I think as a group of people they should be proud of themselves with what they’ve achieved.”
Victory’s under-20s finished second on the table after a 1-0 loss to Werribee City.
NPL2 West 2018 Round 28
Werribee City 3 (Bradley Murray 8′ pen, Jay Kelly 17′, Trevor Ssemakula 67′ pen)
Melbourne Victory 1 (Ryan Lethlean 85′)
Melbourne Victory: Majak Mawith; Brandon Lauton (Luke Goulding), Aaron Anderson (c), Matthew Bozinovski, So Nishikawa; Brady Quinn (William Wilson), Nicholas Hatzigeorgiou; Liston Diaz (Matthew Stosic), Jack Morton, Yazid Said; Ryan Lethlean.