It's not quite unchartered territory, but reasons for cautious optimism are emerging at the Wellington Phoenix.
A 0-0 draw away from home against the Brisbane Roar is hardly a result to get the pulse racing, but considering the efforts of previous Phoenix iterations, perhaps it can be viewed as a step in the right direction.
Not since the 2012-2013 season have the Phoenix accumulated four points through their first two games – a scenario new coach Mark Rudan would surely have accepted if offered in pre-season.
For a team who only banked 21 points last season, it's a reasonably significant starting marker, and after only managing five points away from home in that campaign, an early away point can't hurt the confidence amongst the squad.
Now, for the large dose of reality. Neither of the Phoenix's two opponents to date – the Newcastle Jets and the Roar – are tipped to make the playoffs, and the depth and top-tier talent within the Phoenix's squad still looks to be some way below the standard of the competition frontrunners.
The bulk of the skepticism surrounding the Phoenix's playoff prospects comes at the attacking end, and while there were some promising moments, they ultimately couldn't find a winning goal.
Unfortunately for the Phoenix, their one clearcut chance fell to the wrong man. A ball across goal from Tom Doyle was palmed away by Roar keeper Jamie Young, but straight to the feet of defender Steven Taylor, nestled perfectly at the back post.
Somehow, with the goal at his mercy, he put the ball onto the post – and that was the closest the Phoenix would get.
It wasn't necessarily for lack of creative inspiration – their first 20 minutes were highly promising, and Roy Krishna ran down the channels all night, but despite the visitors managing to get 12 shots away, Young was rarely troubled.
The same could be said for Phoenix custodian Filip Kurto, though. A 90th minute save from a rasping Alex Lopez strike was the first time he was truly stretched, and although the Roar had moments of potency, the Phoenix's defence largely held steady, to record their first clean sheet since December.
It's those type of statistics that put the result in perspective for the Phoenix. For many teams, a scratchy point away from home wouldn't be something to praise, but considering the Phoenix's recent plight, clasping to cautious optimism is at least better than having none at all.