South Coast Wolves' six-match unbeaten run came to a halt with a 1-0 defeat away at Manly United on Saturday.
In a loss which all-but ends the club's finals hopes, Jack Green stole the winner just before full-time.
A defensive lapse saw Green free at the back post to poke home in the 86th minute.
Wolves coach Nahuel Arrarte was disappointed to lose at the death.
"It was a game that could have gone either way," he said.
"We had two or three chances in the second half but unfortunately we didn't finish. It was a lapse of concentration defensively and we paid the price."
The Wolves had traded chances with United at Cromer Park.
Jimmy Oates and Josh Ward both tried their luck in the opening exchanges for Manly to no avail.
Then Wolves defender Michael Robinson forced Dylan Mitchell into a super save at the opposite end to maintain status at the break.
Manly's Chris Paine and Wolves substitute Chris Price were in the thick of the action early in the second half, but couldn't manage to score.
The match turned into a grind for much of the second half and it seemed neither team would take all three points.
But Green's strike settled matters.
The late goal was compounded by the sending off of centre-back Robinson in the 90th minute.
"It was high tempo from the opening whistle and you could tell both teams would be up for it," Arrarte said.
"It was always going to be a tight contest ... and we sort of lost the points."
Despite their situation, Arrarte said the club still has plenty to play for in their final three outings. Wolves play their remaining games at WIN Stadium against St George, Marconi Stallions and APIA Leichhardt.