Newcastle coach Ernie Merrick expressed his disappointment about rivals' time-wasting tactics after a 2-1 loss to Adelaide, but he couldn't deny the biggest waste and frustration came from his own strike force.
The Jets scored 57 goals last regular season, at an average of better than two a game, in their amazing surge from wooden spooners to second place under Merrick.
In 10 games this season, Newcastle have scored one a match and sit seventh on 11 points.
The sharp drop in output has not come from a want of effort or opportunity.
Against Adelaide, like in many games this season, Newcastle dominated the attacking stats.
They had 27 shots to Adelaide's 13 on Sunday night at McDonald Jones Stadium and only a stellar performance from Reds goalkeeper Paul Izzo kept them at bay.
Adelaide scored via a lobbed ball and fortunate rebound to Nikola Mileusnic in the 38th minute. Roy O'Donovan equalised in the 75th before Jets captain Nigel Boogaard fouled Ryan Kitto in the 90th and Craig Goodwin converted from the spot.
Merrick said the sequence of events "seems to be the story of our lives" this season, but he was also frustrated with the by-product of Newcastle conceding early goals.
They have now let in the first goal in seven of their 10 matches.
"I'm sick of goalkeepers being the best players against us," Merrick said.
"He did very well, Izzo. I just wish the referees would do something about time-wasting, which started in the first half. We had it Perth, we've had it with several teams, we had it with Victory.
"They've got to stop that sort of time-wasting, it's driving everyone crazy. Just get on with the game.
“But I don't blame the coach for doing it, or the goalkeeper and players for doing it. If they can get away with it, they'll do it, but I can't complain about that really. It's all about us scoring goals."
Newcastle have had their excuses in attack. O'Donovan missed the first eight rounds through suspension, exciting prospect Joey Champness has not played because of a foot fracture and Andrew Nabbout starred for the Jets, earning a Socceroos call-up, last season before leaving for Urawa Red Diamonds after round 22. But the chances have still come thick and fast this season.
Merrick said his players were "devastated" after the loss to Adelaide. Their chance at redemption comes quickly, against Brisbane at home on Wednesday night.
"We can only sort it ourselves and it's all about up front," he said. "I don't think we're conceding much at all, it's up front and scoring goals and taking those opportunities.
"It was good to see Roy scoring, but we need more, it can't come down to one person. So it's not about Roy from now on, it's about Roy and everyone else."
Merrick took heart from the performances of Matt Ridenton, who replaced Steve Ugarkovic at half-time, and Kaine Sheppard off the bench.
Sheppard provided the ball in for O’Donovan’s goal.
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