Just when you thought things were starting to pick up, away from home anyway, along comes Barnsley 3 Sunderland 0.
Yes, there was perhaps there was a bit of bad luck with a refereeing decision or two, but the scoreline hardly flattered the Tykes, who had started the day in 20th.
Here’s what we learned from Sunderland's defeat, as if we did not know them already.
1. Fans are at the very end of their tether:
They turned up in their thousands, again, and deafened everyone with their noise.
But the 4,249 inside Oakwell of Wearside leanings were to be silenced by another dire afternoon from the team.
The fans sang and sang but they were to be let down and there would be chorus of "Are you watching Ellis Short?" and "You're not fit to wear the shirt".
Those who stayed until the final whistle vented their feelings and you can't blame them.
Only three players offered tentative applause as a thank you/ apology to the supporters.
Them and the other eight wearing the jerseys must try to reach the level of passion shown by the fans.
2. Sunderland must find killer touch:
For anyone who only saw the first half an hour and heard the game finished 3-0 would have chosen only one winner, Sunderland.
Barnsley barely got a kick in the opening third of this 20th v 12th contest.
It was pretty one-sided, but the Black Cats could not turn mountains of possession into goals.
The finishing was not exactly convincing, nor some of the final balls.
One of their better first-half attempts came via a Barnsley defender, keeper Adam Davies preventing Adam Jackson finding his own net from a dangerous George Honeyman cross.
After the break, Lewis Grabban got a good shot on target but that was about it.
Conversely, the hosts translated three of their six shots on target into goals.
3. Goalkeeping quandary not settled:
Robbin Ruiter was handed the keeper's gloves after a good mid-week performance at Carlisle in the Carabao Cup.
Jason Steele, who has the number one jersey, had not been overly sure, since taking over from Jordan Pickford.
Ruiter had little to do in the first half-hour bar a decent diving save to his left from George Moncur.
Sadly, the attacking midfielder did get the better of the Dutchman midway through the second half, shooting into a gap the size of South Yorkshire.
Otherwise, Ruiter performed well, but the Cats can't afford to gift goals like that.
4. Wahbi Khazri is off the Christmas Card list:
How times have changed for the creative talent.
Last season, he was a hero of the fans who scratched their heads why the £9 million man was sent to a chillier place than Coventry while less gifted players wrere in David Moyes's starting XI.
Even in pre-season, the supporters wanted him on.
But the boos Khazri received when warming up and then coming on told the story of supporter disenchantment at a player, who wants out.
One sublime ball out to Aiden McGeady did receive a smattering of applause.
5. Keep Didier Ndong:
Should Sunderland receive a significant bid for the record signing, the club may find it hard to say no.
But of the players who the Black Cats could receive 'readies' for, he is the one surely worth keeping.
Saturday was not quite his day as he gave a few balls away but no-one in the midfield matches the 23-year-old's energy.
Sunderland need 'legs' in there and he provides just that.
6. Good to see Bryan Oviedo back:
Bryan Oviedo made his comeback from injury in Sunderland’s Carabao Cup win at Carlisle.
And the left-back, now recovered from a calf injury while playing for Costa Rica in the summer, started at Oakwell.
Like his colleagues at the back, it was not an easy afternoon for the 27-year-old against a lively Tykes attack, though he was prepared to put in a tackle or three.
Oviedo did pick up a yellow card but it was an encouraging return for the ex-Everton defender who missed the Black Cats’ entire pre-season programme.
Sunderland got 80 minutes out of him before being given a breather with Adam Matthews coming on.