Canberra United coach Heather Garriock "feels like the wheels are falling off" after her side's tally of unanswered goals climbed to 12 across three games.
Sydney FC jumped to second on the W-League table with a 4-0 thrashing of Canberra in front of 1473 at McKellar Park on Monday night.
Canberra have now dropped their past three matches with the same scoreline, going 282 minutes without a goal of their own.
It leaves Garriock's outfit with just three games to force their way back into the top four or risk missing the finals for the third consecutive season.
"It's really frustrating, that's probably the best word to describe it," Garriock said.
"We've got a good bunch of players, and we showed that at the start of the season. It just feels like the wheels are falling off.
"We started the game off really well ... in terms of possession, playing the ball, changing the point of attack, the girls did that.
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"The moment we go down and there's adversity, they put their heads down and they lose belief. It's just not good enough."
Sixth-placed Canberra sit three points behind the fourth-placed Brisbane Roar heading into the final three month of the regular season.
United still maintain some control over their destiny given two of their remaining games come against fellow finals aspirants Brisbane and Melbourne Victory, while they also meet winless Adelaide.
But those games seem a world away as Garriock prepares to address the issues which have plagued her side despite "outstanding" performances from Jessie Rasschaert and Kaleigh Kurtz in defence.
Canberra enjoyed the lion's share of the early chances but it was Sydney who drew first blood via a Remy Siemsen header.
It seemed as though Elise Thornses would strike back just moments later before her shot went wide - it was a chance United would be left to rue as Sydney doubled the margin via Veronica Latsko in the 33rd minute.
Garriock opted to inject Hayley Taylor-Young into the fold following the main break with Brazilian international Camila taken off, simply because she "wasn't good enough and didn't play her role".
But any hopes of a second half fightback began to wither when Chloe Logarzo struck, before Sofia Huerta's late goal stretched the margin to four.
Canberra goalkeeper Sham Khamis was consoled by teammates and stuff after the game as she searches for answers with United conceding 12 goals in three successive games for the second time in club history.
"It's been tough, but I still think we need to overcome adversity and we need to pull together," Garriock said.
"The positive we can take from a football perspective is we have got some really quality young players. But we need to make some changes, the players know that. We just need to come together and work together."
SYDNEY FC 4 (Remy Siemsen 18, Veronica Latsko 33, Chloe Logarzo 49, Sofia Huerta 83) bt CANBERRA UNITED 0 at McKellar Park. Crowd: 1473.