A much improved Melbourne Victory fell to an agonising 2-1 defeat to Bentleigh Greens at Epping Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Lucas Spinella made his return between the posts for Victory, coached for the first time by Gareth Naven.
The new boss would have been pleased with his side's attitude, as it pressed the reigning PS4 NPL Victoria champions without fear from the get-go.
Its first sighter fell to John Maclean, who drove at his defence before he drawing a save from Bentleigh's shot-stopper.
Lucas Derrick was the next to cause a heart flutter for the Greens rearguard with a teasing cross preceding a hurried clearance.
The tide swung Bentleigh's way at the beginning of the second half when Chris Lucas' sweetly struck volley rocketed past a helpless Spinella.
Melbourne only took six minutes to respond, largely thanks to a dogged Christopher Theoharous. The winger hounded the Bentleigh goalkeeper enough to force a clearance, which deflected off the former and into the net.
John Maclean had his side's best chance to find the winner, after he was put through on goal by Josh Hope, only to have Ryan Scott make a pivotal save.
Bentleigh made its reprieve count moments later at the other end, with Lambros Honos knocking home the game's decisive goal.
Victory will travel to Jack Edwards Reserve to tackle Oakleigh Cannons in its next PS4 NPL Victoria match on Friday, July 8.
Earlier, Victory's under-20 team suffered a rare defeat, losing 2-0 to Bentleigh.
Melbourne Victory 1 (Theoharous 57’)
Bentleigh Greens 2 (Lucas 49’, Honos 81')
Melbourne Victory 0
Bentleigh Greens 2 (Madaferri 5’, Panayi 72’)