Murray United got off the mark with its best performance of the campaign, outclassing Melbourne City 3-0 at La Trobe University, Bundoora, on Saturday.
Zac Walker netted a double, while Tom Morrison added another to his season tally in an impressive display from the Border outfit.
It was also the first time Murray had kept a clean sheet against an A-League outfit since joining the NPL 2 competition in 2015.
Senior coach Elliot Jones was delighted with the performance after a tricky first three weeks at the helm.
“We were thrilled for the boys, more than anything, it was just reward for effort,” Jones said.
“We had a massive pre-season and we knew externally there was a bit of pressure on this group, which we understand and accept.
“We would have liked some more points from our first month, there’s no question about that, but, internally, we knew that our best football wasn’t far away.”
Jones admitted Walker was outstanding right from the first whistle.
“His two goals were the icing on the cake,” he said.
“His work rate brought others into the game, he was incredible.
“It was his best game by a long way.
“Dunny (Ashley Dunn) was also fantastic and has had a great month to be fair.
“He led the way again and we also had Connor Caponecchia play most the game and his creativity in the final third was a real highlight for us.
“It’s pretty hard to single people out because we had no passengers at all, it was a real team effort to get up.
“To beat Melbourne City, 3-0, quite convincingly like that, you need to have everyone on board and we were able to put together a 90-minute display.”
The result takes Murray to four points and within striking distance of the top teams, but Jones knows his side can’t get complacent.
“We realise in this league it’s never as bad as it seems and it’s never as good as it seems,” Jones said.
“We didn’t drop the bundle when results didn’t go our way and we certainly won’t get ahead of ourselves when we get one win.
“It was a great win, but at the end of the day, it’s four points out of the first month and we really want to have a better second month.”
Gonzalo Freddi was taken off 10 minutes in as a pre-caution after tweaking his knee, but Jones is confident he’ll recover well.
The ladder after round four is: Moreland City 9, Dandenong City 7, Springvale 7, Goulburn Valley Suns 7, Langwarrin 7, Melbourne City 6, Eastern Lions 4, Murray United 4, Box Hill United 3, Nunawading City 3.