Hamilton Wanderers have started the second part of the ISPS Handa Premiership with a 2-1 defeat against Team Wellington, despite a spirited second half performance.
The result drops the Hamilton side to fifth place and out of a playoff spot, but with eight games to go, there is still plenty of time for the team to secure its first ever playoff spot.
It was Team Wellington's first game back in the premiership, and at home, since their FIFA Club World Cup campaign at the end of the 2018, and they started immediately on the front foot, with Hamish Watson fouled and a free kick awarded.
Henry Cameron swung the ball into the box but it was cleared by the Wanderers' defence.
Cameron was involved again in Team Wellington's next attack, finding Nathaniel Hailemariam, but his attack was again stiffled by a strong Wanderers' defence.
Hailemariam soon found his moment, as a through ball set him free on the Wanderers goal, and his turn and shot found the back of the net.
Wanderers hit back nearly instantly, but the shot was saved well by the Team Wellington keeper.
The away side was forced into a change with Dave Samson heading off with Jordan Shaw coming in.
Derek Tieku forced another save from Team Wellington's keeper just before half time with Wanderers trying to find the equaliser.
As halftime hit, Wanderers could have felt a little deflated that they had not snatched an equaliser, but Team Wellington were looking on track to continue their push up the table.
At the start of the second half, Wellington doubled their lead with Jack Henry Sinclair's pass somehow finding the back of the net. Wanderers responded in near instantaneous fashion as James Hoyle received the ball outside the box and found the back of the net.
Wanderers kept pushing for an equaliser, with a corner kick nearly finding its way into the back of the net.
It was corner kicks proving to be the most effective way forward for them.
As the minutes ticked down Wanderers were losing time, and Eric Molloy charged down the wing for Team Wellington in the 90th minute to try and seal the game, his lobbed shot flying high over the bar.
It was not to be for Hamilton with the game finishing 2-1, but once again this was a strong performance from a Wanderers side that in their short history, have provided a reason for fans to be optimistic.