It wasn't one that got away, but YoungHeart Manawatu need to learn not to let leads slip after their 3-1 loss to Team Wellington yesterday.
Manawatu surprisingly found themselves 1-0 up midway through the first half in the capital, courtesy of a goal from Tom Mosquera, before Wellington came back with three goals of their own.
YoungHeart coach Stu Jacobs said he was never happy to lose, but the 3-1 loss was a step in the right direction from last week's 5-0 loss to Waitakere United.
"We were in the ascendancy for a fair chunk of this game," he said.
"I guess we need to manage how we can hold on and get results. That's the important thing going forward.
"I'd like to think going into Waikato we can get a result. Certainly, there are teams in the league we'd like to consider three-point teams, Waikato being one of them."
Jacobs did not think they had let the game slip but said they had to learn how to close out games from winnable positions.
"I'm not sure you're ever going to get a full 90 [minutes]," he said.
"If we can go 1-0, if we can hold on to it, then we'll get the momentum."
He said teams tended to respond strongly when they went behind early and Wellington had done exactly that, so if YoungHeart had been a bit stronger, they would not have let Wellington back in.
In the 34th minute Mosquera finished off a shot from Josh Chettleburgh that had been saved by the Wellington goalie - and the home side was shocked into life.
Wellington's first goal from a free kick "took the stuffing out of us", then they scored twice during a 10-minute spell to ram home their advantage.
Tobias Bertsch replied to Mosquera's goal in the first half, then Henry Fa'arodo and Justin Gulley added a second and a third.
But Jacobs did not think Wellington had opened up their defence when they scored and they had done well considering it was a strong Wellington side with a number of Wellington Phoenix academy players.
YoungHeart now have a benchmark against a quality team, having run last year's beaten finalists close, so they will be confident heading into next weekend's game against Waikato FC.
The match is a curtain-raiser to the Phoenix game against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Mosquera's goal also sees him still sitting second on the golden-boot charts.
Team Wellington 3 (Tobias Bertsch 39', Henry Fa'arodo 56', Justin Gulley 65') YoungHeart Manawatu 1 (Tom Mosquera 34') HT 1-all.
Other results: Canterbury United 5 Waikato FC 0, Hawke's Bay United 2 Otago United 0, Waitakere United 1 Auckland City 1.
- © Fairfax NZ News