Newcastle Jets boss Arthur Papas admitted poor defending from set plays cost his side badly as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Western United.
The Jets are priced at 7/4 to finish in the top six of the A-League this season and remain in eighth place following the defeat against the ladder-leaders.
The Jets have earned plenty of praise for the way they have played exciting, attacking football under Papas this season but the defence needs more work.
They found themselves behind after just 16 minutes when the Jets defence was caught napping from a Ben Garuccio corner and Leo Lacroix nipped in to head home.
Then a Matthew Jurman error from another corner in the 52nd minute allowed Lacroix to capitalise and grab his second goal of the game to effectively seal it.
Newcastle did find a way through a resolute Western defence in the 81st minute, Dylan Murnane knocked a Daniel Penha cross back across the face of the goal and there was Angus Thurgate to tap home from close range.
It was nothing more than a consolation for the Jets and Papas was left to rue the poor defending from set pieces.
"I think we did (play well) for periods and the game was decided by set-pieces," Papas told reporters after the game. "It's not decided because we were getting opened up in open play.
"But we need to defend better on our set-pieces. That's the difference in the whole game."