Amid head-shaking frustration, GJ Gardner Wanganui Athletic coach Jason King summed his side's current predicament best.
It really doesn't matter how well you play if the ball is not going in the net.
A strong case can be made for Athletic having had the better of Napier Marist at Wembley Park on Saturday – they certainly created more and better chances – but it was a first-half injury time goal to Luis Toomey which gave the Hawke's Bay side a narrow 1-0 win in their Lotto Federation League match.
Goals have been the one ingredient missing from Athletic's match day recipe as of late, and again they just couldn't conjure up enough to salvage one competition point despite deserving to do so.
"We still just couldn't do enough to find the back of the net," King said.
"We've got to find an answer for that. Short and simple."
Athletic have now gone two league games without a goal, having not scored in league play since April's 3-2 win over Massey University – a game in which they netted more than half their current season tally.
Meanwhile, Napier Marist arrived at Wembley Park tied at the summit of the ladder, having only lost once.
And while they racked up set piece opportunities early on, they never caused concern for a solid Athletic defence.
It was a tussle in the opening quarter, with the first real chance not coming until the 26th minute when Athletic's Jude Hiri put a header over the bar after Jake Simcox put in a pinpoint cross from outside the box.
Napier's Luis Toomey soon had a clear sight at goal, but got no power behind the ball as it fell into Athletic keeper Matthew Calvert's hands.
Athletic were just starting to get on top of the visitors as the half wound down, with Scott Burney and James Satherley both getting good chances to give their side a lead.
Mind annoyance then turned to complete frustration when it was the visitors who scored what would be the winner seconds before the break.
Calvert had brilliantly saved two shots from Napier – first poaching the ball in a one-on-one with a Napier attacker, and then charging down the follow-up strike.
But then Toomey took a third swing off the rebound with the ball flying into the empty goal.
"I don't think they deserved that goal to be honest," King said post-match.
"Great saves and then the guy on the line couldn't get across to kick it out.
"If anything, a draw would've been a better reflection but we had plenty of chances - again."
If chances won matches Athletic would have turned things around with ease because there was more than a handful in the second spell.
Napier did come close to earning a buffer in the 80th minute when a Harry Mason shot stuck the post, before closing out the game to claim three more points.
"That's what the score sheet says," King said.
"You can talk about how well we played but at the end of the day we need the marks on the ref's card and we still can't do that yet.
"They were a decent side. Perhaps I was expecting a little bit more from them but at the end of the day they got three points - again."
Athletic's general play has been improving all season, they're now back to full strength but are still lacking that final shot.
"We get ourselves into good positions, we break down teams and for a lot of the game they didn't really look like they were going to score against us, let's be fair," King said.
"It was great to be able to have all the players there at our disposal and we did play relatively well, they didn't really push is too much.
"So I feel a bit ripped of to be honest. We've still not quite got that goal scorer that we probably need."
Athletic return to Federation Cup action next weekend when they host Hokowhitu on Monday, before travelling to Palmerston North to play them again in the league the following Saturday.
In other matches North End beat Palmerston North Marist 4-3, Red Sox Manawatu defeated New Plymouth Rangers 4-1, Havelock North Wanderers thumped Massey University 10-0 while Palmerston North Boys High School had a 2-2 draw with Hokowhitu.
In the Horizions Premiership, the GJ Gardner Homes Wanganui Athletic Reserves were afflicted with the same virus as their 1sts, being unable to find the back of the net in a 2-0 loss to Hokowhitu FC Reserves in the early afternoon game at Wembley.