Five down and Hawke's Bay United are scrambling back to the drawing board once more to see how they can smartly jump back on the winning wagon.

Thirsty Whale Bay United went down 3-1 to Tasman United after trailing 1-0 at halftime and scoring a consolation goal in the dying minutes of the game in Nelson on Sunday.

"Unfortunately losing is becoming a habit," lamented co-coach Chris Greatholder, revealing the hosts were well organised and disciplined so they weren't easy for his men to break down in the week 12 national summer league football match at Saxton Field.

Jean Philippe Saiko put Tasman 1-0 up with a pile driver from the top of the 18m box in the 27th minute.

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The need for the visitors to strike first after the break would have been imperative but, instead, Max Winterton jabbed the ball into the net for a 2-0 margin for Tasman to ensure centre back Cory Vickers' hard work didn't go to waste in the 53rd minute.

By the 73rd-minute mark, both teams were rolling players off the bench to counter the heat.

However, two minutes later Saiko claimed a brace, pouncing on a scramble in the penalty box to extend the lead to 3-0 and compound the heat on Bay United.

Ahinga Selemani pulled one back, 3-1, after the ball was worked down the right flank and turned in to the left upright for the Bay United striker to boost his premiership tally to eight but his team are still struggling to break their goal drought.

Greatholder said the Fox Slotemaker-skippered Tasman "arguably" deserved to win the match after exploiting areas on offence and protecting ones on defence.

English import Vickers and speedy Jesse Randall, a Kiwi under-17 world cup rep, made life difficult for Bay United, especially the former who was strong on the ball and marshalled the back line well, he said.

"We didn't have any hard-luck stories today because we haven't fought well and the opposition has so deserved to win the game," said Greatholder, emphasising it wasn't like previous encounters where Bay United had created opportunities but couldn't put the ball into the net.

While seventh-placed Bay United's confidence had taken a hit with their inability to score, he said some soul searching was required to turn their fortunes around as they host bottom placed Canterbury United Dragons in Napier on Sunday.

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