RUNCORN perished for a fifth successive Nationwide North game of what is turning into a bleak midwinter for Alvin McDonald's men.
Fans didn't know whether to blame the officials or their own players.
It was a combination of the two, which brought their downfall against bigspending Droylsden.
The Linnets certainly didn't help themselves.
They conceded a quick goal, missed an early second-half penalty, which would have levelled up the game for a second time, and failed to capitalise on Droylsden being reduced to 10 soon afterwards.
But equally, Runcorn weren't aided by some strange decisions by the officials.
The interpretation of the offside law took some comprehending.
What's more, Ged Murphy, the Droylsden player sent off for a second bookable offence, could have walked earlier.
The Bloods midfield man was twice warned after picking up his first caution.
And team-mate Craig Robinson was lucky to still be on the field when he scored the third and clinching goal in the 66th minute.
The centre back had already been booked when he handled in the incident which led to Carl Rendell's missed spot-kick.
McDonald, meanwhile, felt all three Droylsden goals were dubious.
He said: 'The first goal was a definite push in the back as the ball came across and we haven't got the decision; the second goal was well offside and their third goal was from a corner which should have been a goal kick.
'We have missed a penalty as well which would have got us back to 2-2.
'At the moment, it is all doom and gloom but the only way you will turn it around is through hard work.'
Ged Nolan was a surprise inclusion in a side which, true to form, had suffered another setback before a ball was kicked with David Ness' withdrawal because of flu.
Nolan had been released to make way for a second goalkeeper at the club but redrafted when Peter Ellis announced his retirement because of wear and tear to his ankle.
Within two minutes, a cross from Droylsden's right-back Carl Regan, given a free passage down the Runcorn flank, bounced off Nolan's shin.
And midfield man Gareth Morris had the simple task of lashing home from close range.
Runcorn fought their way back, after surviving a couple more scares, and looked to be heading into the break on equal terms.
Jimmy Turner had headed in Nicky Young's left-wing cross from the right corner of the six-yard box.
But Droylsden then got away with daylight robbery.
Jody Banim was allowed to continue his run through the middle, despite looking at least three yards offside.
He rounded Tony McMillan to steer his side back in front.
Things didn't get any better for Runcorn.
Rendell saw his poor penalty saved by the legs of keeper Paul Phillips and then Robinson - a former McDonald player at Vauxhall - got to Ian Fitzpatrick's corner before three defenders around him.
New-look Runcorn had a couple of chances in the dying minutes but by then, any chance of a comeback had long disappeared with lack of quality in midfield and their general unfamiliarity showing through.
McDonald said: 'The disappointing thing is there are a couple of senior players - or lads who have been at the club and established themselves - who don't seem to be playing as well as we know they can certainly play.
'We are trying every trick in the book to get their confidence up.'
Runcorn: McMillan, Spearritt (McDiarmind 62), McGinn, Nolan, Robertson, Turner, Garrity, Parle, Young, Rendell (Furlong 69), Brown (Lock 76). Subs: Carragher, Timms.