One point from three games is all Tauranga City United have to show for their efforts over the past 21 days.
One point from a 2-2 draw with table toppers Forrest Hill-Milford United was the hardest to get, said a frustrated coach Duncan Lowry.
"None of the teams above us have beaten us but we've lost points to the bottom placed teams."
The latest loss came in Auckland on Saturday, a 2-1 reverse to Manurewa.
Mathematically, securing the second place that would bring promotion from the Northern League first division into the premier league is still possible. North Shore, who lost to Forrest Hill at the weekend, still occupy the spot and are six points ahead of City. They have played one more game.
Crucially the sides meet the weekend after next, although North Shore enjoy a superior goal difference which means City will need them to slip up at least once in their other two remaining games.
With the loss of three influential players - Colm Kenny and Jordan Culpepper, who are away, and the suspended Josh Nelson - City were up against it.
Creating chances, but not taking them, was the story of the previous week's loss to Metro, and the problem was evident again against Manurewa.
"We've been playing 3:3:4 and we've still not been able to score with four up front," said Lowry.
Jerahl Hughes, Fawwa Ali and Andrew Cooper missed first half chances.
"We looked comfortable in the first half and it looked like it was just a matter of time. Then in the second half, against the run of play, they score."
The home side scored a second before Ali pulled one back for the visitors.
Opponents Mangere Utd take on Eastern Suburbs in the semifinal of the Chatham Cup on Saturday, giving City a weekend off ahead of the visit to North Shore.
"Even if we draw, it's over," said Lowry. "We've got a few niggles and injuries like hamstring tweaks so I've given them the week off to visit the hot pools and to spend a bit of time away from one another because it's been a long season."