A season-opening F3 derby that promised so much for a rebuilt Newcastle Jets finished in an all-too familiar fashion, going down 2-1 to fierce rivals the Central Coast on a wild and wet afternoon at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
New coach Arthur Papas, after overhauling the roster, vowed to deliver a new brand of football for the Jets faithful.
There were glimpses - the Jets had the better of possession and crafted more shots - but they lacked a killer punch. At least early.
Papas also maintained that his side would give everything until the final minute. They certainly delivered on that front.
Substitute Valentino Yuel provided a lifeline in the 78th minute as the home team stormed home.
In the end, two goals in five minutes to Josh Nisbet (51st) and debutant Jack Farrell (56th) were enough for the Mariners to scrape home in front of 6424 fans.
"It was a bit unfortunate; it was a game of two halves," Yuel said post-match.
"I thought we could've put a few chances away in the first half.
"They took their chances when they had them and we had our chance to get them. Pretty much it was tough to take but we'll have to bounce back from this."
Nisbet hadn't hit the target in 41 A-League appearances, but he made the most of his chance in the 51st minute after Jets midfielder Kosta Grozos had been dispossessed.
The travelling supporters had barely stopped celebrating when another home-grown product Farrell double downed with his maiden A-League goal from a corner.
The Jets found a way back in the 78th minute. Angus Thurgate whipped a cross in for Yuel to head home.
"I wanted to make a difference when I came on," Yuel said. "I saw the ball getting crossed in, so I had to put something on it.
"Fortunately I gave us a lifeline, something to chase. I wish I could've got another one in there but unfortunately it wasn't enough."
Yuel's goal sparked the Jets to life with the hosts then bombarding the Mariners box.
Beqa Mikeltadze, who couldn't buy a goal, was denied by the post in the 80th minute.
They had two other strong calls for penalties turned down by referee Kurt Ams in a frenetic final 10 minutes.
The Jets began last season with a 1-0 loss to the Mariners, the first of four straight defeats to open the campaign.
On the surface of Sunday, this Jets outfit won't have to wait that long for their first victory. Next is a trip to Parramatta to take on Western Sydney on Sunday.
Foreigners Daniel Penha, Olivier Boumal and Savvas Siatravanis caused havoc in the first half.
However, the Jets appeared brittle defensively when the Mariners got in behind.
Papas kept faith in the XI that were unlucky to go down 2-1 to Western United in the FFA Cup qualifier.
New captain Matt Jurman was among eight players making their debut in the A-League for the club.
Keeper Jack Duncan, left back Jason Hoffman and midfielder Thurgate were the only survivors from the side which beat Melbourne City in the final round to avoid the wooden spoon last year.
The Mariners also have a new man in charge in former club captain Nick Montgomery and a number of changes in personnel.
The Jets survived an early scare when Ruon Tongyik threaded a long ball for Marco Urena. The Costa Rican took a touch but was quickly swamped by Jack Duncan and Jordan Elsey.
Cameroon international Boumal made the first burst for the Jets, breaking down the left, but his cross was intercepted by Tongyik.
The home side lost Hoffman to a leg injury in the 15th minute and was replaced by Riley Warland.
Mariners keeper Mark Birighitti rushed off his line in the 18th minute and grabbed a Penha through ball off the foot of Siatravanis.
Penha was everywhere and fired a snap shot from the edge of the box which fizzed past the left post.
Momentum started to shift the home side's way midway through the half. Mariners defender Kye Rowles made a crucial header and Birighitti scrambled twice to deny Siatravanis. The Greek winger then struck a volley which flashed past the far post.
Tempers flared in the 36th minute when Siatravanis crashed to the ground after a slight brush from Birighitti. It was not the only time during the 90 minutes that a bit of push and shove ensued.
There was a bit of push and shove but the end result was a throw-in.
The two best chances came in the final five minutes. Marco Urena screwed a low shot to the left for the Mariners and Jets' Georgian striker Beqa Mikeltadze blazed high.
The home side finished the half the stronger and had the better of the key statistics. They had 60 per cent of the ball and won the shot count 11-6.
The weather deteriorated in the send half as rain swept across the ground.
The Jets paid price for sloppy turnovers in the pre-season and they did again.
Against the run of play, Urena dispposed Kosta Grozos and slipped a pass for Nisbet. The pint sized attacker had been a peripheral figure in the first half but produced a clinical finish to beat Duncan.
Five minutes later it was 2-0. Jacob Farrell was left unmarked from a corner and the teenager met Cy Goddard's delivery with a crashing header.