Wagga City Wanderers left Queanbeyan disappointed but very much encouraged after going down 2-1 to the ladder leaders on Saturday.
The Wanderers led the undefeated Queanbeyan City team 1-0 at half-time before coughing up two second half goals at High Street Oval.
Nashwan Sulaiman put the Wanderers in front in the first half, as the visitors took it right up to Queanbeyan.
The home team fought their way back in the second half, grabbing an equaliser in the 65th minute before Alexandru Uricaru's second put them in front in the 73rd minute.
The Wanderers continued to press and had a goal rightly disallowed for off-side before the Queanbeyan keeper also pulled off a miraculous save to stop Samson Lucas from scoring in the final five minutes.
Wanderers coach Dave Leonard was proud of his men but also disappointed not to have salvaged a draw.
"In all honesty, in all fairness, it probably should have been a draw. We probably deserved a point," Leonard said.
"The way the boys played was just incredible, definitely the best game they've played over 90 minutes. Super unlucky not to get a draw out of that.
"I'm stoked but would have loved a point."
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Leonard believes a performance such as Saturdays sets a new bar for the Wanderers.
"I said to the boys at the end of the game, obviously they were all disappointed but I just said the fact is, there is the challenge right there," he said.
"If you guys play like that consistently week in, week out, we're not looking at top four, we're looking at second or third spot."
Tim Kross had another good game in goals but Leonard stressed it was a brilliant team effort.
"There wasn't a bad player on the pitch. They were all fantastic, the whole bloody lot of them," he said.
"Not one of the guys let the other guys down, they were just superb."
The Wanderers will finally get their first home game of the season this Saturday when they host ANU at Gissing Oval.
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