Papakura City 2 Northland FC 0
Papakura City Reserves 2 Northland FC Reserves 1
Northland FC are back in the bottom two of the Lotto NRFL Division Two after being defeated 2-0 away to fellow strugglers Papakura City on Saturday.
The situation in the league could see any one of seven teams slide down to the AFF/NFF Conference or Loaded WaiBOP Premiership for 2019, with only two points separating Franklin United in sixth and the boys in blue in 11th.
The hosts started with a bold attacking plan -effectively playing with four up front.
The tactic paid dividends as it disrupted possession in and around the Northland defensive third early on.
Unable to play out without pressure, Northland struggled to get a foothold in the game and conceded the first goal from one of their own attacking free kicks.
Ross Draper, imperious all afternoon in the Papakura goal, collected a high ball into the box and launched a quick counter attack with a long punt upfield.
Their winger who collected the ball was fortunate to maintain possession after Daniel Romer has seemingly won the ball back but he squared for Cory Mackay to fire home first time from 12m.
The scoreline stayed that way until the 57th minute when Rajnesh Sharma curled a left footed corner to the Northland near post that goalkeeper Shane Stanners could only parry and George Winship volleyed home to ultimately decide the match.
Head coach Dan Johnston was not happy with the performance.
''I don't think the players were ready mentally today. We saw that they took a beating last week and maybe had that in the back of our minds when we went out there, which is inexcusable,'' Johnston said.
''There are four games to go, and we don't need favours from anyone yet but if we play like that again - without fight or intelligence - I'm not sure we'll make it regardless of what happens elsewhere.''
Northland are at home next week against Cambridge, in what could be a do or die encounter.