Wagga City Wanderers were unable to turn pre-season positivity into a round one result, falling 4-2 to Canberra White Eagles in the nation's capital on Saturday.
The Wanderers were in the contest for most of the game but were unable to capitalise on opportunities created, falling to the White Eagles at Woden Park in the round one fixture.
The White Eagles led 2-1 at half-time with Jacob Ochieng ensuring he got on the board early in the season for the Wanderers.
The visitors then thought they had levelled the scores shortly after the break only for the goal not to be awarded due to a controversial off-side call.
A Logan Flanagan goal eventually drew the Wanderers back within one, at 3-2 down, but it was not to be as a late penalty, and send off off Joshua Timothy-Nesbitt, saw White Eagles record a 4-2 win.
Wanderers coach Dave Leonard said White Eagles were just a little too clinical for his team.
"Maybe a little bit more polish from those guys. We certainly created opportunities but in the end just a little bit of polish, they had a bit more polish than us," Leonard said.
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One big positive for the Wanderers was the performance of international import Morris Kadzola up front.
"They worked out straight from the start that he's just quality and pretty much double teamed him for the rest of the game," Leonard explained.
"At times you wouldn't think he's still got two players on him because he makes it look so easy but having him up there is definitely going to create chances.
"We got two (goals), and we had other opportunities but it wasn't the result that we wanted."
The Wanderers head on the road again next Saturday when they travel to Canberra to take on Weston Molonglo.
"It's a game we'll go across wanting to win. We're definitely not there to make up the numbers," Leonard said.
"It's early in the season so back on the horse. We've got a few things to work on at training just in our movement going forward. I think defensively, and people will probably think 4-2 hmmm, but they really defended well.
"It's going forward, creating a few more opportunities and working on combinations with Morris (Kadzola) with the outside guys and our nine but we'll work on that this week, driving forward."
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