Northcote City provided Ballarat City FC with another lesson as it secured maximum points in NPL2 West Vic at Morshead Park on Saturday.
Although there was a lot to like about the way Ballarat finished out the game, it was too little too late as it went down 2-1.
Northcote set up the win by putting the ball in the back of net twice in the first half.
Coach James Robinson said while there continued to be signs of improvement, City FC would not be satisfied until it started winning again.
"We want the three points."
Ballarat almost snatched a draw late, but three points never looked a possibility.
As threatening as it was when it finally began to play the game on its own terms in the last 15 minutes, City FC was fortunate not to concede goals early in the second half.
Northcote dominated possession, continually getting in behind the Navy Blues' defence and went away at the end of the day ruing a series of open chances from within the box.
Goalkeeper Hiromi Nakashima's produced a run of saves to frustrate the visitors and keep Ballarat in touch despite it giving up the ball all too easily in the forward half.
Ballarat picked up its game with the introduction of two substitutes on 60 minutes, with Tristan Romein adding experience and poise at the back, and giving added run.
When a goal did come for City FC, it was via a long through ball to Riki Fostar Hosoai, who provided a clinical finish.
Robinson said Ballarat had been working hard at perfecting the play - drawing the opposition high and then releasing the ball into open spaces - and it was pleasing to see it come off.
In a last-ditch effort to get an equaliser, Robinson pushed experienced defender into a central forward role in gthe closing minutes, but time ran out for City FC.
Ballarat has just the one win in six games.