Western United suffered a 3-2 defeat to Adelaide United in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men on Saturday afternoon.
Noah Botic put United in front just before half-time and Aleksandar Prijovic added a second soon after the interval but Adelaide hit back despite United controlling most of the game.
Two goals in quick succession brought Adelaide level before Craig Goodwin scored the winner from the penalty spot, consigning United to a second straight defeat.
There were three alterations to the starting XI as John Aloisi handed a Western United debut to Connor O’Toole at left-back.
Leo Lacroix returned at the heart of the defence while Noah Botic was handed another start, joining Aleksandar Prijovic in a two-pronged attack.
Western United looked switched on from the beginning of the game, passing the ball around with purpose and looking to break Adelaide’s defensive lines.
James Troisi saw plenty of the ball and Prijovic and Botic were working well together to advance forward and bring their teammates into the game.
Connor Pain had a low shot saved well by Joe Gauci as United continued to knock on the door, but it looked like it might have all gone begging just before half-time.
Adelaide worked the ball down the right-hand side and Louis D’Arrigo buried a header into the net via the post, but the VAR found an offside in the build-up and United’s blushes were spared.
And just as well because United hit the front soon, and it was a special moment for Botic who grabbed his first goal in professional football.
It came from a trademark Neil Kilkenny cross – one of many he swung into the box throughout the opening half. The No.88’s arching ball went straight into the path of Botic, who got his head onto it just before Gauci arrived to punch.
It came at the perfect time to give United a lift and reward for its performance just before half-time as the Green and Black held the lead into the break.
Just as United struck right before the break, the hosts found the net immediately after it as well to continue the momentum from the first period.
It came from another free-flowing move, this one down the left wing as Connor Pain found space on the ball and looked for a pass into the middle.
The target was a handy one as Prijovic stepped onto the ball and fired a rocket towards the goal which Gauci could only divert further into the top corner.
United continued to play with control but Adelaide remained a threat going back the other way and hit the crossbar from a corner before finding a route back into the match with just over 20 minutes to play.
The visitors broke quickly down the right wing and Nestory Irankunda cut the ball back for Zach Clough who thumped his finish into the roof of the net.
That equaliser turned the momentum right around and Adelaide drew level with a second strike within 10 minutes as Craig Goodwin whipped a wide free-kick into the far post before the ball rebounded back across the line and straight to Ryan Kitto who scored from point blank range.
United’s lead had evaporated and the team quickly set about recapturing it. Leo Lacroix thought he had done just that when he swept in Kilkenny’s free-kick, but the offside flag halted celebrations and Adelaide landed a sucker punch moments later.
Tomoki Imai’s challenge in the box saw Adelaide earn a penalty which Goodwin duly converted to give the visitors the lead.
United threw everything forward in search of an equaliser but it wasn’t to be as the Green and Black fell to defeat.