A frustrated Kenny Lowe saw Perth Glory's A-League finals hopes vanish through some lacklustre defending against Brisbane Roar but he will look back on the 2017-18 season as one of missed opportunities.
Glory went into Saturday night's home game with Brisbane Roar an outside chance of qualifying for finals with a win and then a Western Sydney Wanderers loss to Adelaide United on Sunday.
They began strongly with an Adam Taggart goal early after a mistake from Roar 'keeper Jamie Young. But as has so often been the case, Perth's defensive lapses let them down.
Far too easily was Henrique allowed to score a double and Thomas Kristensen scored while unmarked in the box as Roar opened a 3-1 advantage and won 3-2.
That was Perth's 15th defeat of a campaign in which they have conceded 50 goals - only Wellington Phoenix conceded more.
Glory did score more goals (37) this season than all teams bar the top four but it was their struggles defensively - plus injury issues - that ultimately cost them a chance at playing finals.
"It was a eason of frustration really. It could have been something and it didn't turn out to be," Lowe said.
"You've seen in the last 10 weeks when everybody's been on the park we have a decent enough squad.
"That's probably the frustrating part and it's frustrating for the players because they can see that. Sometimes those are the cards you get dealt."
Glory will get ready for the 2018-19 season which will include a pre-season clash with Chelsea at Optus Stadium on Monday July 23.
Lowe is contracted for another season and while it remains to be seen if he's allowed to see out that final year by owner Tony Sage, he is already looking ahead.
"We were always looking ahead anyway, that's part and parcel of it. It would have been nice to put it on the backburner a little bit and focus on finals, but it's not to be," Lowe said.
"The focus is to make sure that we get the people in that we need to get in and to get everyone back when we need them back.
"We've been looking at that over the last month or two months trying to re-sign players and trying to chat to players out of contract within here and from other places. That's just part and parcel of the job."
Australian Associated Press