The prospects of Wairarapa United winning the Central League football title for the first time have suddenly become more muddied.
They went into Saturday's game with Lower Hutt City at Howard Booth Park with a handy cushion at the top of the points table but that situation changed dramatically with their disappointing 3-1 defeat.
Now if Wairarapa United are to take the title they must beat Napier City Rovers in the last of their league games in Napier next weekend and also rely on defending champions Miramar Rangers to drop points in one of the three games they still have to play.
Otherwise, it will be Napier City Rovers and Miramar Rangers who are fighting it out for the big prize.
Lower Hutt City are no mugs, having won through to this year's Chatham Cup final, but they didn't have to be at their best to dispose of Wairarapa United for the second time this season.
In fact, they are the only team to have beaten them in league play.
"It wasn't so much that they [Lower Hutt City] played well, it was more that we were awful," Wairarapa United coach Phil Keinzley said. "It was like we were playing in slow motion, there was hardly any intensity there at all.
"The ground conditions, the refereeing, the crowd support, everything was in our favour but we blew it."
Through most of this season, Wairarapa United have been dominant in midfield but on this occasion that was the weakest area of their game.
"Too many passes failed to find their target and too many tackles were missed."
Frustrating too for Wairarapa United and their big crowd of supporters was their poor finishing work.
Several prime scoring chances, especially in the first half, came to nothing through weak shooting or inept option taking.
"I suppose you could say it was one of those games where practically nothing went right ... we had a shocker," Keinzley said.
Not surprisingly then, this was not a game when too many of the Wairarapa United players came away with their reputations intact. First half goal scorer Paul Ryder and the speedy Dale Higham were the pick of the attack, while Miroslav Tvaroh and Esava Naqueleca worked hard defensively.