Moreland Zebras have given Ballarat City FC plenty think about in NPL2 West Vic.
The Zebras handed the visitors a 3-0 defeat on Saturday - the now ninth-placed Ballarat's third loss in a row.
Ballarat coach James Robinson said his players would learn by the experience.
He said it was important in the development stage City FC was in to take as much as possible out of every game whether it was a win or loss.
Robinson said it was all part of the journey the side was embarking on in his first season back at the helm.
Moreland scored in the opening minutes.
Ballarat had an opportunity to square the ledger with a penalty in the first half, when a Zebras player was red carded.
However, the Navy Blues missed out and went to half-time 1-0 down.
Even a man down, Moreland's set-up ensured it still had too much potency.
Robinson said Ballarat was not without its chances, but had to learn to take them.
Robinson said on the plus side, the experienced Daniel Tinker would benefit from getting 45 minutes pitch time after an interrupted preparation to the season.
Isaac Brooker also made his senior debut.
Ballarat is home to Northcote City next Saturday.
Northcote, which plays in the east conference, lost in a surprise to Manningham United Blues 2-0 at the weekend, but has two wins to its name. Robinson said Ballarat was looking forward to the opportunities playing at home offered.