The Zebras remain in the hunt for a long-awaited Premier League finals return after claiming a hard-fought 1-0 win over Coniston on Saturday afternoon.
In a wet but fiery affair at JJ Kelly Park, Marco Pennisi's goal early in the second stanza proved the difference as the visitors claimed a crucial victory.
The equation was simple heading into the third-last round for the eighth-placed Zebras - they needed to win to keep their chance of reaching finals alive. Port had the majority of scoring opportunities, but only required to one goal to take down Coniston, who were sorely missing key players Daniel Lowe and Jason Zufic.
The Zebras will now meet Cringila and Helensburgh in the last two rounds of the regular season. If they are successful in sneaking into the top five, it will be the first time that Port have made the IPL's first-grade finals since 2018.
"We need to keep winning, we don't have a choice, and we have to rely on some other results," Port striker Oli Carrasco told the Mercury.
"We knew it was going to be a physical game but we just had to compete, and we knew our chances would come. And I think we were unlucky not to win by more to be honest. But the boys are feeling pretty good.
"We've kept a couple of clean sheets in the last couple of weeks, besides the (Bampton) Cup final against Olympic. But it's given us confidence and against the top five, I think we've got a result against everyone.
"I think they're going to be scared to play us next week and if we play to our abilities, we will win."
Port Kembla had the better of chances inside five minutes, with Carrasco and Pennisi both forcing Coniston goalkeeper Kaydin Harrison to make saves.
A controversial moment then occurred in the 19th minute when Carrasco found the back of the net, but, the referee had already blown the whistle for a penalty. From the ensuing free kick, the Zebras almost scored, with the ball then deflecting to Shotaro Iwamoto - whose shot was blocked by Coniston's defence.
However, it was the hosts who had the next golden opportunity near the half-hour mark when Matthew Tschentscher found himself one-on-one with Port goalkeeper Matthew Nikolovski, who made a low save to his right.
Port Kembla continued to have the lions' share of chances during the half, but the score remained 0-0 at the break.
Both teams came firing out of the blocks after halftime, with Coniston's Matt Floro launching from outside the box, which was stopped by a diving Nikolovski. At the other end, Carrasco missed a chance to score from short range.
However, the Zebras wouldn't be denied minutes later, with Pennisi sliding the ball home to give Port a 1-0 advantage.
The Zebras continued to pile on the pressure after that goal, having several chances in attack, including forcing Harrison to make two saves in quick succession. At the other end, Christopher Arditti forced Nikolovski to parry the ball away, while Toby Norval slid the ball past the goal-mouth.
The game then settled into an end-to-end pattern, with Port still enjoying the bulk of the opportunities. Norval also had an opportunity to equalise from short range, however, he couldn't properly connect with the ball.
Coniston continued to push desperately in the final 10 minutes, while the visitors looked to slow the tempo down. In the end, Port did enough to hold on for the 1-0 win.
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Coniston player Cassidy Tanddo admitted it was a disappointing result for his side.
"It was a rough performance, definitely not our best during the season. But we'll build and go again," Tanddo said.
"I'm not quite sure what it was. We had a good week at training and a good preparation, but we just didn't put it together today. But hopefully we'll put in a good performance next week."