Huddersfield Giants hopes of resurrecting a poor season died on the back of a less than impressive performance against Wakefield Trinity.
The Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final provided stand-in coach Andy Kelly and his squad with the perfect chance to revitalise what had gone awry earlier in the campaign.
However, the failings that led to head coach Paul Anderson being sacked last week came back to haunt the Giants once more, and any dreams of a Wembley outing were crushed under the weight of missed opportunities and the amount of penalties conceded at crucial times.
The return of former Melbourne Storm star Ryan Hinchcliffe to the Giants line-up was designed to bring an added level of structure, to bring attacking powers but also bolster the defence – but they found themselves on the back foot after just two minutes.
Trinity pushed the tempo on the first set of six and made the most of the chance they created as David Fifita went over from close range and Liam Finn added the goal.
The problems for the Giants were compounded on 12 minutes as new signing Tom Symonds was penalised and Finn put the shot at goal between the sticks to make the home side’s task even harder.
Within another minute the measure of the home side’s disarray was exposed as Danny Brough was yellow carded for a clumsy challenge on Trinity centre Reece Lyne.
As former Trinity player Brough trudged to the sin-bin, his one time employees made instant use of the advantage and moved the ball right at speed to put Ben Jones-Bishop in at the corner.
Finn missed the goal attempt but made amends when Eorl Crabtree was penalised, and the Wakefield half back pushed the visitors advantage to 14 points.
Finally the Giants got their game in order, but it took a gift on 19 minutes for Scott Grix to make an interception count by going in at the corner and, once the fourth official had checked the handling and grounding, the ex-Trinity player was awarded his try, but Ellis missed the kick.
On 25 minutes the Giants troubled the television official again after Jake Connor had gone to the left hand corner, and the try was awarded, but this time Brough, returning from the sin-bin, missed with the kick.
New signing Symonds almost marked his home debut with a try on 31 minutes but was held up over the line as the Giants began to look as though they were making the tide turn.
But the only problem was the amount of ground conceded from penalties – and trying to make something of nothing was proving a tough test as half-time rolled around.
The last act of the half, however, had the home side waiting on another fourth-official call as Connor had gone for the corner, but his brilliant attempt to ground the ball was ruled out and the Giants went into half time six points adrift.
It took only four minutes of the second period for Wakefield to put the Giants on the back foot again.
Grix looked to push a pass and as the ball went to ground, Wakefield winger Tom Johnstone was most alert and raced almost the length of the field to touch down. Finn added his fourth goal. On 55 minutes Wakefield created the chance for Fifita to power through for his second touchdown and Finn added his fifth goal.
The chips were down for the Giants and at least there was a response as good handling created enough space on the right for winger Jermaine McGillvary to squeeze in. Brough failed with the goal attempt.
Finn added a penalty – his sixth successful kick – before McGillvary got a late consolation try.