THE Newcastle Jets remain winless and last on the A-League ladder after a 2-1 loss to A-League newcomers Macarthur Bulls at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
It was the Jets' third defeat in as many games, continuing a frustrating trend of allowing the opposition to draw first blood and being forced to chase the game.
There is no question about the effort Newcastle's players have been putting in, but they are struggling to fill the gaps caused by the off-season departures of players like Dimi Petratos, Matt Millar, Nick Fitzgerald, Abdiel Arroyo, Wes Hoolahan and Joe Ledley.
For the second consecutive game, the Jets found themselves 2-0 in arrears before mounting a comeback.
Macarthur opened the scoring in the eighth minute when French midfielder Luic Puyo produced a spectacular overhead kick to nail home a deflected cross.
Newcastle looked to have equalised eight minutes later when Jason Hoffman finished off an exchange of passes with an angled strike, only for the VAR to rule he was offside.
Puyo again showed his class in the 23rd minute with a swinging corner kick that English striker Matt Derbyshire headed in for his first A-League goal.
The home team reduced the deficit in the 42nd minute when the ball pinballed around inside the box and deflected into the goal off striker Valentino Yuel's shin.
They then survived a nervous moment in the dying seconds of the first half when Derbyshire hit the crossbar, and the ball bounced favourably for Newcastle keeper Jack Duncan.
There was another close call three minutes into the second half when Macarthur broke clear in numbers, prompting some desperate defence and a Duncan save.
But gradually, aided by a stiff southerly at their backs, Newcastle started to dominate field position and created a host of promising chances.
Repeatedly, Macarthur were able to get enough men back in defence to snuff out any danger.
The Jets were left fuming on full-time when Macarthur defender Aleksandar Susnjar touched the ball in the box but the match officials chose not to rule a penalty for hand-ball.