SUNBURY Lions still cannot lift the close-game curse hanging over the team after a one-point loss to Berwick in Victorian Women's Football League premier reserves on Saturday.
Sunbury drew level in the final quarter but could not hit the front in the 4.2 (26) to 4.3 (27) defeat.
Click on the image below for our gallery of the game.
The loss, Sunbury's third in a row by 10 points or less, leaves the Lions fourth on the table on percentage heading into the final two weeks of the home-and-away season.
An injury to a Berwick player required an ambulance to be called with less than two minutes to go in the game, a 20-minute delay before resuming the match in the dying stages.
Sunbury went inside forward 50m after the restart but couldn't manufacture a kick for goal to hit the front, or at least level the scores.
"It was tough to get back up, almost like starting the game again," Lions captain Natasha Hardy said.
"We had one opportunity inside 50m but they got numbers back and it was congested.
"These were must-win games against teams we were expected to beat, it's put us in a tight predicament where we need to win the last two to make finals."
Sunbury now finds itself in an all-or-nothing situation, given its final two games are against ladder leaders VU St Albans (8-4) and Darebin (8-4).
Third-placed Diamond Creek (7-1-4) leads Sunbury by half a game, while waiting outside the top four is East Burwood (7-5) while Berwick's win (5-1-6) keeps it on the fringes.
Sunbury hopes to welcome back state representative Brook Surgeon and leading goalkicker Lisa Borg and second-leading goalkicker Catriona Goldsworthy.
"It's a cliche but we have had injuries to some key players," Hardy said.
"We've made some big improvements and players like Alana Preston and Tina Caia have stepped up in pressure games.
"We beat VU previously in a tough game and even though we've never beaten Darebin before, I think on a good day we can definitely give them a run."
Sunbury Lions 4.2 (26) lt Berwick 4.3 (27)
GOALS - Sunbury: K. Sleigh 2, N. Hardy, A. Preston. Berwick: B. Jakobsson 3, L. Chalkley
BEST - Sunbury: T. Caia, L. Kirby, N. Hardy, N. East, K. Sleigh, S. Craige. Berwick: M. Clark, M. Kronert, E. Andrews, R. Walker, K. Bergroth, S. Ryan