South Coast Wolves's six-match unbeaten run came to a shuddering halt in a 3-0 loss to Blacktown City on Sunday.
In a slight improvement from their 5-0 drubbing on opening day, the Wolves conceded two late goals at Lilys Football Centre to end their run of good form.
"We went into the game on the back of a few good results and hopeful that we could get something out of it but that is obviously not how it turned out," coach Nahuel Arrarte said.
"We came up against a quality side and they finished their chances.
"It was one of those games that just shows the difference on the table at the moment is quite evident."
City skipper Travis Major had scored the opener for the home side just before half-time when he headed in from close range.
Down a goal at the break, Arrarte made a pair of changes, bringing on Jordan Murray for Ricky Zucco and Joey Lavalle for Peter Simonoski.
The duo helped the Wolves come out strongly in the second half as they began to attack with purpose.
But while they continued to press well, South Coast were unable to craft many major scoring chances.
They continued to throw men forward in the dying stages to find an equaliser, which left them open to a counter attack.
And City pounced, as Rjuji Miyazawa finished off a four-on-two break with five minutes left before Danny Choi scored his side's third in added time.
"I thought in different stages of the game we played some decent football," Arrarte said.
"I will keep reinforcing it to the boys that it is going to get harder and harder as more people are taking notice that we are not going to lay down and concede.
"At the same time, we take the responsibility as a squad that we have to step it up as well."
Arrarte had to deal with the loss of regular keeper Daniel Collison on the morning of the match with appendicitis and centre-back James Baldacchino through illness.
The pair joined captain Jacob Timpano, who remained absent through injury.
Timpano is expected to be edging closer to a return with a home match against Sutherland Sharks at WIN Stadium next Sunday.