Northcote City were knocked out of the FFA Cup in Round 4 of the qualifying stage following a 1-0 loss to St Albans Saints at John Cain Memorial Park on Saturday.
It was an uneventful first half with chances hard to come by for either side.
With ten minutes on the clock, Anthony Rizk powered into the area and got a low shot away from a tight angle, but it was straight at Saints goalkeeper Alex Baird.
On half an hour the ball sat nicely for Josh Knight on the edge of the area but he fizzed the half volley just wide of the far post.
The visitors should have been ahead in the 44th minute when a deep cross found Joseph Monek, who couldn’t find the target with Luke Gavalas stranded.
The second period began at a higher tempo as Rizk drove a ball across the six yard box, just evading the far post and Aminta Makalovski’s boot by a matter of inches.
Soon after St Albans substitute Teddy Yabio was played clean through on goal but his effort was expertly smothered by Gavalas, who was deputising for Phil Petrovski between the sticks.
Makalovski was the next to go close for City just before the hour mark, but the young striker’s shot was well palmed away by Baird at the near post.
Yabio spurned a golden chance for the NPL2 side eight minutes later when again one-on-one with Gavalas, his curling shot went wide of the near post.
But the speedy forward would only have to wait a matter of seconds for another opportunity from point blank range.
Michael Grgic saw a brilliant strike from distance bounce off the underside of the crossbar, then off the back of Gavalas into the path of Yabio who reacted quickest to tap into an empty net.
With 15 minutes to go Jonathan Bounas nearly found an equaliser with a wicked curler destined for the top corner but for the flying fingertips of Baird.
Five minutes later debutant Keenan Gibson drew another important save from the Saints keeper with a 20-yard effort that dipped and swerved towards the bottom corner.
In what was the match’s main personal duel, Gavalas was again well positioned to deny Yabio and keep it at 1-0.
But City’s hopes of a late goal were effectively dashed with Steven Sifinos sent off following a second yellow card in the 89th minute as Alex Gymnopoulos’ men still search for their first win of the season.