The Wollongong Wolves will have to regroup immediately after a disappointing away trip to Rockdale on Sunday.
A 10-man Wolves side fell 3-1 in a fiery affair, with both teams testing the referee's limits at times.
The challenges don't get any easier for Luke Wilkshire's men, with Wollongong to host competition leaders Sydney Olympic in a match that looms as crucial to their finals aspirations.
In what has become a concerning trend for the coach, the side's execution in front of goal was again off the mark on Sunday night.
Wilkshire recognises it needs to improve as the stakes raise with each game played.
"What do we have to do to score a goal?" Wilkshire said. "We got one, but also conceded two poor goals. Apart from that, I can't fault the boys.
"I don't think (Wolves goalkeeper) Luke Kairies made one save the whole game. The amount of times we got into their box and the amount of chances we had, the nearlies, and could have beens, but it didn't, so we'll walk away with the loss."
The Wolves were on the back foot early, Amaury Gauthier scoring in just the eighth minute to hand the hosts a 1-0 lead.
The advantage did not last long, Thomas James landing his first strike since returning to the side to level the scores in the 20th minute.
Both teams had opportunities to break the deadlock throughout the first half, however the two defences held firm.
The match seemingly turned in Rockdale's favour in the 58th minute, when Wollongong defender Nick Littler was sent off.
Tomoki Wada converted the free kick and it looked like the hosts would run away with the game.
Instead it was the Wolves who controlled the final 30 minutes, the side coming agonisingly close to levelling the scores on a number of occasions.
Rockdale held their opponents out, however, before Wada added his second to secure the three points in the 93rd minute.
While disappointed with the result, Wilkshire was pleased with the way his team took control of the match after they were reduced to 10 men.
"I can't ask for much more from them in terms of the way we played, the way we controlled the game even with 10 men.
"This is football. more than anything I think I feel for the boys, but we'll get up and we'll go again."