AN out-of-sorts Newcastle Jets produced their worst defensive effort of the season to go down 4-0 to a rampant Melbourne City at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday night.
The home side had no answers to the pace, power and slick ball movement of the second-placed visitors.
Adrian Luna scored a first-half double with goals in the 3rd and 28th minute.
When Marcelo Cabrera struck inside two minutes of the second half, the game was gone. Jamie Maclaren added a fourth for good measure in the 59th minute.
The Jets lacked urgency, were pulled out of defensive shape and created little going forward.
Nikolai Topor-Stanley played his 300th A-League game, while Steve Urgarkovic and replacement Matt Ridenton notched 100 but the performance won't be a fond memory.
The loss was the Jets' heaviest for the season and leaves them in 10th place on eight points after eight games.
Coach Ernie Merrick was critical of the Jets' lack of urgency.
"We gave the first goal away inside three minutes through a comedy of errors," he said. "We played catch up football from then on and in fact we didn't play very good football for the whole game. To their credit Melbourne were very sharp."
The Jets' 2-1 loss to Adelaide last round was played in 38 degree heat, but Merrick didn't believe that had an impact on the players.
"I could find lots of excuses for them but there shouldn't be any," he said. "That was an extremely poor performance. It's only the second time we have done that, the other was Sydney (4-1 loss). Other than that we have been very competitive. I just thought all over the ground we defended poorly. We were second to the ball, our inter-passing was shocking, we struggled to put three passes together in the first half ... and never really looked like scoring."
Coach Erick Mombaerts made one change from the 3-0 loss to Perth, promoting Tom Glover for his City debut in goals.
The Jets were off the pace early and went behind after just three minutes.
Ben Kantarovski failed to clear a pass into the box. The ball deflected into the path of Luna who slid a shot past advancing keeper Glen Moss and into the right corner.
City were more desperate. They were first to the ball, won the majority of duels and hustled hard.
Petratos had a volley well saved by Glover in the 24th minute and the young keeper did well to deny the Jets talisman again a minute later.
But it was the visitors who scored next, with Luna grabbing a second.
Josh Brillante chipped what appeared an innocuous ball into the six-yard box and Luna got between two defenders and headed home from point-blank range.
The Jets were out of sync. Passes were misdirected and misread and the movement lacked their normal sharpness.
The start of the second half was a repeat of the first.
Topor-Stanley hung off Cabrera and the Uruguayan rifled a shot from 12 metres into the roof of the goal.
Hoffman had a shot saved and Petratos had an effort blocked as the Jets searched for a spark.
It didn't come as City put the home side to the sword.
Jamie Maclaren made it 4-0 in the 60th when he burst in front of Lachy Jackson and turned a Cabrera cross into the left corner.