The Central Coast Mariners ship is showing signs of sinking after a 2-0 loss at home to Adelaide landed another lethal blow to their campaign.
After enjoying unprecedented success in seasons' past, the Mariners showed few signs they were the same over-acheiving club that finished in the top three in each of the last four campaigns.
Just when parochial fans were given a glimer of hope following back-to-back draws away from home, a two-minute double from Pablo Sanchez moments before half time made it three straight home defeats for the 2012/13 champions.
A second yellow card to hardened midfielder Nick Montgomery added insult to injury, as the Central Coast remain winless since their opening round victory over Newcastle.
Phil Moss will seek a huge improvement in intensity on the paddock, or else he may have to empty the bullets from Mike Charlesworth's gun following news fellow head coach Mike Mulvey became the first victim of poor form and an owner with an itchy trigger finger.
Once again the yellow and navy made a number of prosperous chances, including a delicious through ball from Mickey Neill to find Mitchell Duke after 25 minutes, and controlled the tempo for much of the first stanza.
But as has become a frustrating constant for the Gosford club, they failed to make anything count on the scoreboard and as a result never really looked threatening in the final third.
Sanchez's first epitomised both sides' seasons so far, with a Fabio Ferreira cross deflecting off the leg of Neill, looping over the head of Liam Reddy and onto the greatful head of the Spaniard who nodded home unpressured from close range.
The Reds barely gave the men in yellow a chance to swallow the unjust opener; they dominated on the wet surface to no avail, before finishing their second two minutes later. A probing run from right-back Tarek Elrich began in his own half and ended in the 18-yard box, where the 27-year old played a low ball across the face.
The Mariners defence failed to deal with it, and Sanchez popped up to slam the ball into the roof of the net and all but seize the three points for Gombau's side.