There is a certain sense of deja vu as Newcastle find themselves in a not-so-unfamiliar situation with four rounds remaining in the W-League season.
The Jets made a promising start to their 2020-21 campaign. They held a half-time lead over league leaders Sydney (24 points) in round two before losing 2-1 then, in round three, led an eventual 1-1 draw with competition heavyweights Brisbane (19), who are second and unbeaten after 10 rounds.
A 4-1 thrashing of Western Sydney (10), who have since found momentum to be sixth, followed in round four and had the Jets right in the top-four mix.
But a succession of losses since has taken Newcastle from being finals hopefuls to a situation where they are now trying to avoid the wooden spoon for a second year in a row. After a similarly promising start last season, the Jets ended up last on goal difference in the final round.
Composure and decision-making in the final third has proven the biggest issue this campaign. But it is a position coach Ash Wilson felt they did not deserve to be in.
"You look at a few of our games and that's been the case - we've played some good football, creating more chances than teams in some aspects and copped a couple of goals and not been able to get them back," Wilson said after Newcastle lost 2-1 to Adelaide at No.2 Sportsground on Friday night.
"It's sort of been the story of the season and it's disappointing that this is where we are now as a result of it and not being able to pick up as many points as we could have."
While the Reds moved to 16 points and third place, Newcastle stayed seventh on four after eight outings and appear now to be in a three-way fight with Melbourne City and Perth to avoid finishing last.
City, who are defending champions, have also only recorded four points to be eighth on goal difference while Perth are last with one point but have only played six games. The Jets face Perth in Perth next round before City in Melbourne.
Newcastle are 10 points adrift of fourth-placed Melbourne Victory, who drew 1-1 with fifth-placed Canberra (12) at Epping Stadium on Sunday.
"I don't think mathematically we can make it any more, but obviously the goal is to keep winning as many games as we can," Wilson said.
"We don't want to finish bottom of the table again. I don't think the girls deserve it with the type of football they've been playing at times and the energy that they show in games and what they do defensively.
"But, at the end of the day, they have to go out and they have to score goals and they have to win games. They have to score more goals than the other team.
"We're going to keep working on that next week. And that's the idea, to keep winning games. Keep putting in positive performances. Not to lose motivation.
"I've said to them, I've been in this situation before. You can easily lose motivation based on that. But there's still a lot to play for and I think they want to, I want them to, be able to put in the best showing of themselves."
Newcastle play Perth on March 8.
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