Perth Glory's hard fought battle against a resurgent ECU Joondalup was overshadowed by a 1-0 loss in Week 5 of the PS4 National Premier League at the weekend.
In a tight contest with chances at both ends, a sublime free kick from ECU skipper Jon Higgins was the difference between the two sides.
Glory Coach John Gibson said the performance from the youngsters was pleasing, despite the defeat.
"It's always going to be tough coming to ECU, who have picked up in recent weeks, but I thought we competed really well" he said.
“They're a very competitive side and, but we stuck to our game plan and we did play some football against them.
“This young group is growing each week and we know every game is different and different teams apply different strategies, shapes and philosophies, so it was a great experience for the lads to play a game like that."
It was a hectic start to the game with chances at both ends. Glory custodian Jordan Franken had to be alert to save from Jon Higgins, before ECU keeper Jamie Serra saved well from Dejan Spaseski’s free kick.
The Glory were holding their own, and Stefan Valentini's shot on the run was saved by Serra, and moments later the winger went close again, but his shot flew wide of the target.
But on 27 minutes it was the home side who hit the front with a stunner.
ECU won a free kick on the left of the penalty area, and Jon Higgins curled it superbly up and over the wall and into the top corner of the net to give Franken no chance.
The Glory steadied and went close to levelling before half time.
Valentini was causing ECU's defence all sorts of problems, and his run and cross picked out Spaseski at the back post, but his shot was saved low by Serra.
The game was still up for grabs after the break, and Franken kept his side in the game tipping over Jon Stynes header early.
Then Serra was brought in to action saving well to deny Spaseski.
The game petered out in the second half with chances few and far between.
Glory returns to action this weekend with a home game at Inglewood Stadium when they take on co-tenants Inglewood United.
ECU Joondalup: GK Jamie SERRA, 2 Ryan LOWRY (12 Josh TUCKER 87'), 3 Jon HIGGINS (c), 4 Charlie COMYN-PLATT, 5 Carl RODGERS, 6 Jon STYNES (18 Stuart MONTGOMERY 76'), 8 Joe SMITH, 9 Guy McDONALD (7 Paul MILLER 58'), 10 Andy HIGGINS, 11 Rowdy YATES, 13 Tommy AMPHLETT
Subs not used: RGK Ashley MAYNARD-BREWER, 17 Bayley MONTGOMERY
Perth Glory: GK Jordan FRANKEN, 2 Gian ALBANO, 3 Jacob COLLARD (c), 4 Nathan COSTELLO, 5 Tom KING, 6 Calvin WHITNEY, 7 Sam MCKEARNAN (13 Waliedin ISMAIL 71’), 8 Dejan SPASESKI, 9 Stefan VALENTINI (12 Ali GHOLAMI 87'), 10 Slobodan VULIN, 11 Nick TALIMDZIOSKI
Subs not used: RGK Jordan YOUNG, 14 Matthew NTOUMENOPOULOS, 15 Sean TROUP
Referee: Tom Glavovic