YoungHeart Manawatu appear to be out of their depth in the national league after another hiding, by Canterbury United in Christchurch yesterday.
Despite conceding 16 goals in the space of a week, captain Nathan Cooksley thinks they still have something to offer.
After losing 7-2 to Waitakere United last week, Canterbury ran riot against Manawatu, winning 9-1 yesterday.
Cooksley said it was the biggest score he'd ever had against him, but claimed the team had already forgotten about it.
"It's a very down mood at the moment," he said. "Not much to say about it, really. It was pretty embarrassing.
"They completely outplayed us. But we didn't have one of our better games."
The score was 3-1 at halftime and YoungHeart had shown promise after Jimmy Haidakis scored from a free kick.
But it turned to custard after the break.
"They just had us under the pump," Cooksley said.
"We couldn't do anything about it. They got on top of us and the heads drop a bit once it gets to four or five."
Cooksley denied they were out of their depth, despite the two thrashings.
"The team changes every week. We can't really get any combinations," he said.
"We've got the players here at the moment.
"It's just getting us to click."
This weekend, YoungHeart play Hawke's Bay United in Palmerston North, the only team to have surrendered a point to Manawatu this season, when they drew 2-all in Napier in November.
Cooksley didn't think it was their only chance to win a game this year.
But if they don't beat their neighbours this weekend it could make the season that much longer as they hunt for that elusive win.
Manawatu have lost a number of players since the start of the season and two huge losses in seven days has things looking glum.
To make matters worse, Cooksley has a torn tendon in his leg and will have to see how he shapes up at training on Tuesday.
The goal difference for Manawatu does not make easy reading as they have now let in 35 goals this season and only scored eight.
The draw against Hawke's Bay in the second round has been YoungHeart's best performance this season.
But Hawke's Bay are on the improve and knocked over Waitakere 1-0 on Sunday.
For Canterbury yesterday, Russell Kamo scored a hat-trick, Englishman Darren White and All White Aaron Clapham shot a double each and Tom Schwarz and Julyan Collett both scored one.
Haidakis scored his third goal of the season just before the break to make it 3-1.
But then Canterbury piled on the misery, ripping through the Manawatu defence.
Canterbury United 9 (Darren White 17', 34', Aaron Clapham 23', 64', Tom Schwarz 53', Russell Kamo 55', 73', 83', Julyan Collett 79') YoungHeart Manawatu 1 (Jimmy Haidakis 37'). HT 3-1.
Other results: Auckland City 0 Waikato FC 0. Team Wellington 2 Otago United 1. Hawke's Bay United 1 Waitakere United 0.
Competition points: Auckland City 19, Waitakere United 15, Canterbury United 15, Team Wellington 15, Otago United 9, Hawke's Bay United 7, Waikato FC 7, YoungHeart Manawatu 1.
- © Fairfax NZ News