Salford City Reds paid the price for a poor first half performance as they fell to their fourth league defeat in a row against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on Saturday.
Despite a stirring comeback the Reds could not close the first half deficit eventually falling short 26-22.
The defeat sees the Reds slump to their sixth defeat in seven league matches and leaves them languishing outside of the playoff berths in 10th.
The hosts exploded out of the blocks scoring two tries in the first six minutes.
Loose forward Danny Washbrook combined with halfback Isaac John to put centre Dean Collis in before collecting a clever inside pass from scrumhalf Tim Smith to go over himself.
The Wildcats were totally dominant and crossed three more times in quick succession only for a combination of the referee and video referee to deny them on all three occasions.
Hooker Paul Aiton was denied for a knock on, Danny Kirmond for a forward pass before prop Andy Raleigh was held up.
Salford responded well and made the hosts pay for those missed opportunities when Ashley Gibson raced the length of the field before slipping Daniel Holdsworth in for the score.
Holdsworth converted his own score to put Reds within six points in the run up to half time.
But Wakefield soon reasserted their dominance with two more quick tries before the break.
Returning forward Frankie Mariano crashed over before the impressive Collis used great handling to put winger Peter Fox in the corner to give Wakefield a 22-6 lead at the interval.
Reds returned a much-improved side after the break and cut the deficit soon after as Chris Nero crossed.
Holdsworth’s conversion reduced the arrears further to give the visitors hope but Paul Sykes’ two penalty goals gave the Wildcats a degree of comfort.
It was just as well too as winger Gibson crossed twice in as many minutes to give the Reds a real chance of snatching an unlikely victory.
And second row Matty Ashurst was nearly the hero shortly after but could not collect Joel Moon’s pass with the line begging meaning Wildcats could savour only their third win of the campaign.
Coach Phil Veivers was proud of the courage shown by his troops but was left extremely downhearted with their overall performance.
“I didn't think we were that good in the second half either. I give them credit for showing the courage and tenacity to try to come back into the game but, other than that, I thought we were poor the whole game.
“In the first half, we never got out of our half. They possibly should have been another two or three scores ahead of us.
“We never had one set down on their goal-line and we scored a try that came from our own goal-line - we completed at less than 50% in the first half.
“The frustrating thing is that we had opportunities to win the game but it's our skill level that's let us down.”
Reds are back on Challenge Cup duty next weekend as they face a daunting home draw against 2011 finalists Leeds Rhinos on Sunday.