A 10-man Murray United recorded its second road win of the season, getting past Brunswick City 2-1 on Saturday.
The visitors produced their best start to a game all year to move 2-0 up inside 25 minutes.
However, the momentum shifted when captain Ashley Dunn was shown a straight red card in stoppage time to reduce Murray to 10 men for the entire second half.
Coach Elliot Jones admitted his side played Brunswick off the park for 45 minutes, but had to defend grimly after the send off.
"I thought the referee made a mistake, he thought that Dunny lashed out with his leg, but he's not that sort of player," Jones said.
"I honestly couldn't believe he'd been sent, it wasn't even a caution, it was a straight red card.
"It was a real shock to our guys going into half-time and certainly gave Brunswick a sniff."
Wing back Ryan Don Paul opened the scoring in the 17th minute when he found the bottom corner from outside the box.
The next 10 minutes was a highlight reel between star Englishman Tom Youngs and former Socceroo Archie Thompson.
Youngs played in Thompson who was brought down in the box less than 10 minutes later and Zac Walker made no mistake from the penalty spot.
"Five minutes later, Archie and Tommy again combined on top of the box with some one-twos and Archie slipped Tommy through, but their keeper made a really good save," Jones added.
"It was really good to see Archie and Tommy get going, it's everything we'd hoped it would be that combination.
"Archie is getting more games under his belt and getting fitter and fitter, so it's really exciting for the second half of the year.
"We could have been three or four up at half-time, but it was a real momentum shift when the referee marched Dunny."
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Jones admitted it was one of the gutsiest wins he's been involved in at Murray.
"The guys just hung in there and stayed compact and organised - we basically had 10 men behind the ball for 45 minutes and managed to keep them out," he said.
"To play three games in a week (due to FFA Cup clash on Wednesday) is tough enough, but to go a man down in the second 45 of your last game for the week, and for it to be your captain also, it was all against us.
"About 10 minutes into the second half, to be having to chase and stay compact and break up play, Dunny is the perfect player in that situation.
"A lot has been made about our defence and they've been under a lot of pressure of late, but they were enormous."
Jones praised the performance of Josh Zito in the middle, who stepped up in the absence of Dunn.
"He absolutely ran himself into exhaustion and was knocked around and scratched and kicked and bumped," he said.
"He quite literally couldn't walk after the game.
"Ryan Giles and Westy (Alex West) and Pyesy (Sean Pye) were just incredible.
"We sang the song after the game and everybody was stuffed, we could hardly get the song out."
The ladder after round 12 is: Eastern Lions 26, Northcote City 22, Bulleen 21*, Langwarrin 19, Manningham United 14, Melbourne City 14*, Box Hill United 13, GV Suns 12, Murray United 10, Springvale 9*.
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