YoungHeart Manawatu's tale of woe continued with another loss - but this time it wasn't because of a lack of trying, going down 4-0 away to Auckland City yesterday.
It was YoungHeart's sixth loss in a row this season but they were always going to be rank outsiders against the Auckland high-fliers.
Although Manawatu were unlikely to trouble Auckland yesterday, YoungHeart coach Stu Jacobs was disappointed the scoreline didn't make it look like they were improving.
"It's always difficult, you know," he said. "Probably doubly so because they [Auckland] just came back from competing in the world club championships.
"I think that we had chances again today; we probably had four gilt-edged chances that we could have scored."
Manawatu improved from their result in Auckland last year where they got a "right beating" - 5-0 - but Jacobs was determined to pick up their second win after a string of losses.
"We never forget about it, we're always realistic and work hard to make things better. Otago and Waikato - those two are possibilities of getting results. Outside of Auckland City and Waitakere, points are up for grabs.
"If we take the form of the Canterbury game for 60 minutes and how we tried in the second half [yesterday], we'll pick up points."
Jacobs felt they finished the game strongly and their defence hadn't been too bad, with one goal coming from a penalty and one from a corner, so 4-0 was a fair scoreline against a team leagues ahead of Manawatu.
"3-0 in the first half was a little discouraging; I thought they had the monopoly on the ball really."
Adam Cowan had a chance to make it 3-1 but couldn't finish, and Dale Higham and Seule Soromon had opportunities.
Although it may not seem like Manawatu are getting much better judging by their results, Jacobs felt it was another push in the right direction in returning some respectability to the green and whites.
YoungHeart now have a break until the first game of the second round against Otago United at Memorial Park on January 13.
Auckland City 4 (Chris Bale, Emiliano Tade , Manel Exposito, David Browne) YoungHeart Manawatu 0 HT 3-0.
Other results: Waikato FC 6 Otago United 1, Waitakere United 3 Canterbury United 1, Hawke's Bay United 3 Team Wellington 0.
Points: Waitakere United 19, Canterbury United 15, Hawke's Bay United 13, Auckland City 11, Team Wellington 6, Waikato FC 6, YoungHeart Manawatu 3, Otago United 3.
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