The third round of Women's Federation League games is not proving a happy hunting ground for the Team Ritesh Whanganui team, who slumped to their worst result of the season with a 4-1 defeat to Massey University FC on Sunday.
Despite adding back five fresh players to the squad which went to Napier last weekend for a 2-all draw with Taradale, who had beaten Massey in consecutive weekends of League and Cup play, Whanganui suffered from what coach Matt Calvert could only call "a lack of enthusiasm".
The home side made a great start with the opening goal to Candice Armstrong, the shot coming from outside the box to beat the keeper, but from there, the urgency just disappeared from their play.
There was still come good ball skills to show to often beat defenders in the midfield, but the Palmerston North students had all the hustle and when they got the breakaways, they went all the way.
A ball put through set up a one vs one challenge with keeper Megan O'Connor, with the shot buried in the bottom corner.
Massey should have gone 2-1 up when they got a chance at an open goal, yet a toe poke instead of a strike led to the miss.
It mattered little as the go-ahead goal still came with another nice run in behind from the wing, catching Whanganui out with the ball going into the top corner.
Into the second half and any thoughts of a customary home team revival dissipated as a breakdown in communication between defenders saw O'Connor come out of the box and an easy tap-in to score.
Whanganui just could not get the gear stick up into fifth, as a corner kick into Armstrong was snaffled by the Massey keeper, while Rose Davidson had a run at the goal mouth before being taken down.
Eva Thompson found another gap but with striker Vanya Apiata-Hodgkinson covered, took a long shot herself, again straight to the keeper's hands.
Rebekah Chamberlain made a great pass into space to leave Apiata-Hodgkinson free coming in at the right-hand post, by her shot just stayed right to continue an afternoon where the top goal scorer could not exert her usual influence.
Alice Ireton came on for the fourth quarter and tried some drives up the centre, but far too often Whanganui turned the ball over in traffic just as they were coming into the attacking half, as Massey knew it was just a matter of time.
A long ball sent ravenous attackers going at the Whanganui box and O'Connor found herself alone trying to stop three players, with the result academic at 4-1.
The die was cast as Calvert soon opted to sub off some off his senior players, while the likes of Ireton, Amy Haughian and Eilish Graves had a couple of promising forays, with Haughian getting one shot off which the untroubled keeper collected.
The body language of the side was noticeably different from previous games at Wembley, as even in defeat, at least the desperation had been there for the majority of those contests.
"Very hard to watch, is one way to sum it up," said Calvert.
"Off the ball, we were poor, in our own half.
"Soon as the first [Massey] goal went in, we were at two's and three's, and we weren't even good at two's and three's.
"Shame really, just didn't seem on the same wave length and got punished massively for it."
Calvert felt Armstrong and Thompson had given outstanding efforts, but perhaps the team had just tried to play too straight, which could mean his instructions to them were not right.
Have now lost three of their last four games, along with the Taradale draw, Calvert said he would go back and review their tactics, heading into the last two games of the season.
"We didn't look like ourselves. You can't stroll through things, and we did."
The squad's self-chosen goal of finishing second on the table also took a hit in the heavy loss, as their 4-5-4 record saw Taradale (5-4-3) lift above both them and defending champions Palmerston North Marist (4-6-3), courtesy of a 10-0 hammering of pointless Feilding United on Sunday.
After being the only team to hold unbeaten Hokowhitu FC (11-2-0) to two stalemates, Marist finally had to secede superiority to the champions-in-waiting, who beat them 2-1.
In the Horizons Premiership, GJ Gardner Homes Wanganui Athletic Reserves lost 3-1 at home to Feilding United AFC.