Team Northumbria are still searching for a first Netball Superleague win of the season after failing to shine in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Te Aroha Keenan’s side lost a fifth straight fixture as they slipped to a 49-61 defeat against Manchester Thunder.
And with Friday’s tough trip to Bath looming large it’s back to the drawing board for a side short on confidence and shaken by injuries.
Another frustrating evening got off to the worst possible start with England international Leah Kennedy forced to sit out her first game of the season with a knee problem.
But former Sport Central favourite Fi Toner gained England Netball clearance in time to rejoin her former team-mates and start at goal defence.
Signed as a long-term replacement for TN’s injured captain Katarina Cooper, the Northern Ireland international had expected to start in centre court.
But Kennedy’s absence forced a defensive reshuffle with Jaydene Robinson starting at wing defence and Brie Grierson in at centre.
At the other end of the court it was a big night for Georgia Rowe with the towering Welsh international handed the goal shooter’s dress.
And TN’s close-season signing turned in her best quarter of the campaign with a display of deadly shooting.
The hosts drew level at 15-15 on the back of a superb Rowe buzzer-beater and took an early second quarter lead through Chiara Semple.
A thrilling clash was proving too tough to call with former TN coach and England playcaller Tracey Neville watching on from the sidelines.
But just as it looked as if there would be nothing to choose between two committed sides, two-time champions Manchester hit five goals without reply in the final three minutes of the half to lead 31-26.
TN playcaller Keenan rang the changes heading into the third quarter with veteran Vicky Burgess in at wing attack and Iman Thomas replacing Robinson at wing defence.
Rowe dropped back down to the bench with Tamsin Moala partnering fellow Kiwi Semple in attack but Thunder pulled clear by eight goals heading into the fourth quarter.
And the visitors completed a comfortable win after Robinson - back in the TN seven in the final period - was sin-binned for persistent fouling five minutes from the end.