Failure to score a single point in the second half saw Castleford Tigers suffer another disappointing defeat at Salford Red Devils.
The 26-16 loss dropped Daryl Powell's men down to seventh in the Betfred Super League and came at a further cost with Junior Moors and Paul McShane coming off injured.
Defeats for Leeds Rhinos and Hull KR this week have kept the Tigers six points above the bottom, but they must have an anxious eye on the relegation zone after their seventh defeat in their last nine matches.
Cas battled back from 18-6 down to 18-16 at half-time and started the second half with hopes that they could get something out of their trip to the AJ Bell Stadium. But Derrell Olpherts - heavily linked with a move to the Tigers next season - scored the only try of the half for Salford and Cas could not reply.
They were lacking creativity as well in the first half as early promising attacks and an extra set won by Jake Trueman's kick came to nothing.
It took 18 minutes for the first score to come and it went to Salford as Niall Evalds latched onto Krisnan Inu's kick through to go over for a try converted by Inu.
Four minutes later Lee Mossop took Jackson Hastings' pass near the line and brushed aside weak tackling to score the second try, again goaled by Inu.
Cas hit back as Daniel Smith collected his first try in Castleford colours, touching down Paul McShane's grubber kick over the line.
Peter Mata'utia converted, but the hosts got over the line again soon after when Hastings was somehow allowed to score after looking held near the line. Inu's third goal made it 18-6.
Cas took advantage of some bits of luck towards the end of the half to get back in the game.
First, Salford lost the ball in a tackle and Castleford quickly shifted the ball wide for Greg Minikin to go over for a try that went unconverted.
The remarkable last play of the half saw Inu hit the post with a penalty attempt and the Tigers came up with the ball. Tuoyo Egodo - in as late replacement for Greg Eden - tried to chip ahead, but the home team regained the ball only for Jordan Rankin to intercept and race downfield for the most unlikely of tries. With Mata'utia goaling they were right back in at 18-16.
However, instead of cashing in on their fortune the Tigers were pinned back in the second half. Good defence for a while kept Salford out before the hosts scored what turned put to be the crucial try on the hour as Hastings attracted three defenders and came up with an offload near the line to send Olpherts over for a try converted by Inu.
Castleford's efforts were not helped by losing Moors to what looked like a nasty knee injury and McShane who later had to limp off.
They rarely looked like scoring, although Rankin's kick earned them a goal-line drop-out. It summed up the Tigers' night when from Inu's drop-out, James Clare slipped and the ball rolled out of play to give the Red Devils the possession back.
Inu made sure of the home victory with an Inu penalty goal right on the hooter.
Scorers - Salford: Tries Evalds, Mossop, Hastings, Olpherts; goals Inu 5. Castleford: Tries Smith, Minikin, Rankin; goals Mata'utia 2.
Salford Red Devils: Evalds; Bibby, Inu, Welham, Olpherts; Lui, Hastings; Mossop, Tomkins, Dudson, Jones, Lannon, McCarthy. Subs: Walker, Burke, Flanagan, Lussick.
Castleford Tigers: Mata'utia; Clare, Minikin, Blair, Egodo; Trueman, Rankin; Watts, McShane, Smith, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: Millington, Milner, Moors, Cook.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas.