Coach Ryan Campbell says the Newcastle Jets must stop leaking "cheap" goals as they turn their focus to Brisbane Roar in Maitland on Saturday and a much-needed win.
A 2-1 loss to Western Sydney in Bathurst on Friday night, after the Jets had taken an early lead, could have proved much more damaging than it did.
Instead, the Jets are eighth on 20 points, just two behind seventh-placed Central Coast (22 points) and three adrift of three teams, including Wanderers (23), vying for fourth place.
"The results sort of played in our favour in that the teams that were ahead of us didn't really pull away from us," Campbell said.
"The first 35 minutes or so, before we conceded the first goal, was probably the best we've played overall this year. We were really positive.
"We created a lot of chances and we had a lot of control of the game, and then when we conceded that goal it seemed to knock us a little bit and we never really got our composure back."
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Wanderers' first goal, two minutes before half-time, came from a goal kick that bounced on for lightning quick strike weapon Sophie Harding, who was unstoppable once she had breached the Jets backline.
The second, in the 79th minute, was scored when an unmarked Vicky Bruce ran into the box to bury the rebound after a free kick.
The Jets have conceded 30 goals in 16 games for the third leakiest defence behind Adelaide (32) and Canberra (33).
Wanderers proved far more ruthless with their opportunities than the Jets, who created 18 shots with nine on target.
"We need to be more clinical, and we probably have to be a bit better at not conceding cheap goals, because I felt both goals against Wanderers were really cheap goals and ones they didn't really have to earn," Campbell said.
"We need to stop giving away those goals if we want to win games.
"Off the goal kick, we've got to make sure the ball doesn't bounce. The second one ... not following in on the set piece when [goalkeeper] Izzy [Nino] makes the save.
"They're both very avoidable goals. We have to be better at defending in those spaces and making sure we don't concede goals like that."
Brisbane (17) were left ruing their own round-16 result after leading 2-1 at half-time before conceding two late goals in a 3-2 loss to third-placed Western United (29) on Sunday night.
The round-17 clash on Saturday afternoon is the first of back-to-back games for Newcastle at Maitland Sportsground.
They also host Perth (23) there on March 3.