Castleford's mini-revival came to a shuddering halt as they suffered a disappointing defeat to fellow strugglers Catalans Dragons in the lower reaches of the Super League table, conceding 28 points in a second-half fade-out.
Terry Matterson's side were hoping to extend their advantage over the bottom club Wigan to eight points at the halfway point of the season but this defeat leaves them continuing to look anxiously over their shoulders at any signs of a revival from the JJB Stadium.
Matterson was hugely downbeat at the end, showing the angst he felt at the inability to build on successive wins over Salford and Wigan.
"We didn't handle the wet conditions at all, "Matterson said. "Our kicking game was poor and we made fundamental errors. I thought we had built up a bit of momentum and confidence.
"We had gone though a rough patch and come out the other side. Confidence is a hard commodity to find and we hope to get that back again quickly. I thought we took the opposition lightly. I certainly didn't and in our preparation we worked really hard. Losing hurts but also the way we lost."
The Catalans were inspired by their 19-year-old scrum-half Michael Dobson, who continues to deputise for the injured Stacey Jones.
Dobson, who will return to Canberra after his loan spell when Jones is expected to resume in the next couple of weeks, combined superbly with Laurent Frayssinous while the opportunism of the centre John Wilson was rewarded with a hat-trick.
Castleford lost direction with the 16th minute departure of their 38-year-old half-back Brad Davis, who has been inspirational in recent weeks, with a dislocated shoulder. But they fought back from being 12-0 down, to close-range tries by Wilson and Ian Hindmarsh, to tie the scores with two Gray Viane tries in a nine-minute spell either side of the interval.
Frayssinous then created two tries in a decisive four-minute spell for the predatory Wilson with astute kicks close to the home line and when Dobson raced away for a magnificent solo try from inside his own half two minutes later the Catalans were celebrating their fourth win of their first campaign, and their second against Castleford.
Further tries by Justin Murphy and Aurélien Cologni with Dobson taking his tally to six goals from seven attempts completed their happy afternoon in West Yorkshire before the Castleford captain, Danny Nutley, posted a late and meaningless reply.
Castleford: Platt; Pryce, McGoldrick, Shenton, Dyer; Lupton, Davis; Fa'aoso, Henderson, Nutley, Manu, Roarty, Bird. Substitutes used: Handforth, Viane, Huby, Ward.
Catalans Dragons: Guigue; Murphy, Wilson, Hughes, Verges; Frayssinous, Dobson; Fellous, Rinaldi, Guisset, Hindmarsh, Rudder, Jampy. Substitutes used: Cologni, Chan, Mounis, Beattie.
Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington).Reuse content