Port Kembla have survived a late barrage of attacks to hang on and claim a 1-0 win over a 10-man Bellambi on Sunday afternoon.
Despite Steve Hrstovski being sent off late in the match, the Rosellas continued to pepper the Zebras' goal-mouth in the dying stages at Wetherall Park, but couldn't find the equaliser to Jordan Nikolovski's penalty early in the second stanza.
The result means Port Kembla have now picked up two wins this Illawarra Premier League season, while Bellambi are still searching for that first victory.
"I thought we played pretty well in the first half. Bellambi came to sit in and we had a lot of the ball, and created a number of chances. And I think if we'd scored a couple of those early, it would have been a different second half," Zebras coach Stuart Beedie told the Mercury.
"But credit to Bellambi, they fought very hard. Even after they lost a player late in the game, they created a couple of chances. But I'm a bit disappointed in how we finished the game in terms of keeping the ball, and taking the game out. We got there in the end, but we've certainly got plenty to work on.
"I'm happy with the three points, and the first-half performance was reasonable. That first-half performance is my what I can take away, but we need to play the whole 90 minutes."
Port Kembla dominated possession and the opportunities during the first 30 minutes, but were unable to capitalise, with Bellambi goalkeeper Blake Horton making some great saves.
At the other end, the Rosellas had the best chance when Reo Hirose wound up from outside the box, with his shot forcing gloveman Aidan Breslin to make a diving save, with the ball richochetting off the woodwork and away from the goal mouth.
As the half went on, the visitors slowly wrestled back some momentum, but neither side was on top. It was in particular a tough battle in the middle.
Port Kembla then looked certain to have earned a free kick when Shitaro Iwamoto appeared to be dragged down inside the box, however, the referee waved play on.
It would prove to be the last pivotal moment of the stanza, as the score remained 0-0 at halftime.
The hosts piled on the pressure early in the second half, and were rewarded when a Bellambi defender was penalised for a handball inside the box. Nikolovski stepped up to take the kick from the spot and he made no mistake, giving Port Kembla a 1-0 advantage.
Soon after, Hirose had a chance to equalise from a free kick outside the box, but his shot was just off target. Both teams then traded opportunities for the next 10 to 15 minutes, with Port's best opportunity coming when Iwamoto found himself on-on-one with Horton, but his attempt sprayed wide.
It looked like a crucial moment when a Port Kembla defender was penalised for a handball just outside the box. Abdalla Al Okla stepped up to take the shot, which cannoned into the woodwork, but bounced away from goals.
Heading into the latter stages, Bellambi's frustrations began to boil over, resulting in Steve Hrstovski receiving a red card.
However, the setback appeared to spur on his teammates, who had the majority of chances in the closing stages. Al Okla in particular looked dangerous, including finding himself one-on-one with Breslin, but his chip attempt was off target.
With the clock ticking down, Hirose appeared to be dragged down inside the box by a Port defender, but the referee called play on. It would prove to be the final big moment on Sunday, as the Zebras clung on to victory.
"It was a disappointing game. We had a lot of possession and were down to 10 men, but it is what it is," Rosellas player Aiden Wood said.
"We should have got the three points today. There were obviously some positives, but we needed the three points."
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