Perth Glory picked up their first A-League wooden spoon after Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.
But it was a much improved performance by the Glory youngsters after the 6-0 drubbing by Western United seven days earlier.
Adelaide moved into fourth, jumping Wellington Phoenix who had a 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers.
Glory have gone 15 games without a win but caretaker coach Ruben Zadkovich said: “We are just at the very start of building a very successful team.
“I saw enough to know we are on the right track.
“We could have got something out of that game with a little bit more quality and composure.
“It comes down to quality, especially in the front third, where we are lacking a little bit.
“I’m not going to accept the loss but I’ll wear it proudly.”
Zadkovich handed Joseph Forde, 18, and Tyler Vecchio, 19, their starting debuts and Aidan Edwards, 20, his debut from the bench.
Bernardo Oliveira opened the Reds’ account after 25 minutes, sliding home from close range, but they did not seal the game until time added-on when Nestory Irankunda unleashed a screamer from the edge of the box.
Veteran goalkeeper Liam Reddy, who could do nothing about either goal, turned back the clock with some terrific work.
Adelaide had all the first-half chances. Glory did not have a single shot on goal.
Oliveira flashed a shot across goal before Reddy raced off his line to shut down Lachlan Brook.
Brook unleashed a long-range rocket that skimmed the crossbar and Reddy produced two more fine saves from Oliveira and Hiroshi Ibusuki
Ryan Kitto beat two players in the box to set up Oliveira for the opening goal but when Ibusuki got his head to the ball he found Reddy in the way again.
Adelaide opened with Javier Rodriguez firing a wicked shot that curled past the post but Glory had good spells, including a Joshua Anasmo goal ruled out for offside.
Reddy again kept Ibusuki out while Antonee Burke-Gilroy came close to bringing Glory level before Irankunda sealed the win.