BENDIGO City will need to address a poor record on the road if it is to entertain thoughts of a romantic title win in its first season in the Men's State League (MSL).
A golden opportunity to maintain maximum pressure on top teams Barwon and Melton Phoenix went begging when City could not find a way past bottom team Wyndham in a 2-2 draw at Werribee on Saturday.
Worse still, City squandered a 2-0 half time lead.
It was not the response the MSL newcomers were looking for after experiencing their first loss of the season the previous weekend against Deakin University in Geelong.
Coach Greg Thomas could not hide his disappointment at a lackluster second half and being the first team to concede a point to Wyndham this season.
"We were 2-0 up at half time and doing it easily and then just some silly mistakes really cost us," he said.
"We just kept turning the ball over and inviting pressure and we got punished for it.
"I can't really put a finger on it at the moment, whether it's nerves. But like the previous week, we were cruising ... no issues ... but I don't know if the guys thought things would just keep happening, but they just didn't.
"We were probably lucky to get away with a point in the end against the bottom side.
"It was their first point for the year, but it really feels like two points dropped for us."
City went ahead in the 30th minute when Daniel Purdy hit the back of the net for the third time this season and increased the margin to 2-0 with a follow-up in the 38th minute from Sean Boxshall.
But the second half quickly turned into a nightmare for the visitors with Domenico Ottaiano converting a penalty in the 54th minute before adding his second in the 60th minute.
The match ended in a deadlock, with Wyndham generally having the better of the contest in the final 30 minutes.
Inexplicably, a poor two-week patch for City directly followed a brilliant and emphatic 7-0 win over top side Barwon.
Away from home this season, Bendigo City has drawn 1-1 with ninth-placed Lara United, defeated 11th placed Surfside Waves 5-1, lost 2-1 to Deakin University (fourth), and now drawn 2-2 with cellar dwellers Wyndham.
Bendigo City sits third on the ladder on 15 points, six behind Barwon and four behind this weekend's opponent Melton Phoenix.
"We have really made things hard for ourselves," said Thomas.
"After a great 7-0 win against Barwon who are top of the league we have had back-to-back pretty poor performances.
"You'd have to think the other top sides won't be losing two points to these bottom sides.
"But we'll need to regroup, there's still a long way to go and by no means are we out of it.
"Playing the second team this weekend is going to be massive."
It was their first point for the year, but it really feels like two points dropped for us.- Greg Thomas
One of the few bright spots on the day was a return to winning form by Bendigo City's reserves team.
Lewis Merriman and Darius Thomas each scored twice and Jacob Floyd once in a 5-1 win over Wyndham.
It was a reassuring win for City, which started the season with five straight wins before a draw with Barwon and a loss against Deakin University.
A pleasing aspect for Thomas was some game time for promising youngster Seth Reppin, who is 16.
Bendigo City reclaimed top spot on the ladder.
Balmoral 0 lt Melton Phoenix 2
Barwon 6 d Maribyrnong Greens 0
West Point 6 d Maidstone United 1
Wyndham 2 drew Bendigo City 2
Ballarat 4 d Surfside Waves 0
Lara United 2 lt Deakin University 3
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