Melbourne Victory was downed 2-1 by Brunswick City to finish its PlayStation 4 NPL2 West campaign on Saturday.
A Matthew Conversano penalty and Tom Owens goal put Brunswick on top either side of full-back Ridwan Hannan being sent off.
Nuh Sehavdic came off the bench to pull a goal back for Victory, but the host held on at Dunstan Reserve.
Victory head coach Gareth Naven lamented his team's slow start in Brunswick.
"First half, we were really slow out of the blocks I thought, not getting the pace of the game, not doing things quickly," he said.
"Second half was a lot better, understanding what the opposition are doing.
"It's just about doing things smarter and better."
Both teams had their chances throughout the first half, without finding a breakthrough.
Josh Hope and Pierce Waring almost combined for the opener for Victory, while Jonathan Vakirtzis and Callum Goulding forced saves from Brunswick goalkeeper Sebastian Mattei.
Victory shot-stopper Majak Mawith made a brilliant save to deny Conversano, tipping his header over the bar.
Conversano opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 58th minute, with Mawith almost keeping his effort out.
Hannan was sent off for the host soon after, the full-back picking up his second yellow card following a foul on Christian Theoharous.
Owens tucked away a finish to double Brunswick's lead before Victory rallied late on.
Sehavdic pulled a goal back for Victory following a fine Luke Goulding pass, and the visitor thought it had a penalty when Theoharous was brought down moments later, only for the offside flag to go up.
Earlier, Victory's title-winning under-20s finished the campaign with an 8-0 win over Brunswick City.
PlayStation 4 NPL2 West 2017 Round 28
Brunswick City 2 (Matthew Conversano 58' pen, Tom Owens 87')
Melbourne Victory 1 (Nuh Sehavdic 90')