With six minutes remaining at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, West Ham United were still in with a chance of holding Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea.
The Hammers had produced a performance full of heart and commitment and created a hatful of opportunities against the division's meanest defence. Then, just as it has so often this season, luck deserted Avram Grant's side.
Substitute Fernando Torres was ushered across the penalty area by the excellent Danny Gabbidon, only for the ball to stick in a puddle, wrong-footing the defender and allowing the Spaniard to net his first goal in Chelsea colours - ending West Ham's spirited resistance in the process.
"I can't really take any pride as a defender from my performance as we lost 3-0 so I am disappointed," the defender told West Ham TV. "That is probably the bit of luck that Torres needed to get his first goal. The ball stopped in a puddle and I am sure that he will go on to score a lot more."
Earlier, West Ham had matched their title-chasing hosts for long periods of a game played in persistent, driving rain. Demba Ba, twice, and Jonathan Spector forced Petr Cech into fine saves, while Robbie Keane flashed a first-time shot narrowly wide when well-placed with the score at 1-0.
Frank Lampard had fired Chelsea into a 44th-minute lead from Ashley Cole's left-wing cross, but aside from that, West Ham had restricted the hosts to long-range shots.
"The first goal was a good goal but we are looking to get to half time at nil-nil and it was just before the break and it was a blow for us to go in 1-0. We did well first half. The third goal was a good finish [from Florent Malouda in added-time].
"It seems the same old story that we never take our chances, we play well and create and never get the result. So it is disappointing. We put in a lot of hard work and we had chances to score and when they had their chances, they took them.
"For long parts of the game we did well and 3-0 is really disappointing."
Having performed so well against a Chelsea side that had won six of its previous seven league games, Gabbidon said West Ham will travel to fourth-placed Manchester City next Sunday firmly believing that they can upset Roberto Mancini's team.
"We need to do that from the first minute and believe in ourselves. That is kind of tough at the moment because of the position that we are in, but that is what we have to do - just go out there and give everything that we have got. Man City are a good team but we can't be thinking of that. We need to go out there and try and get some points on the board."
Following Sunday's trip to Eastlands, West Ham round out the season with winnable fixtures against Blackburn Rovers, at Wigan Athletic and at home to Sunderland, with the No4 insisting that survival is far from beyond them.
"If we can show that kind of fight and performance in all aspects of the game, [we can stay up]. We worked hard and created some chances which was good and, at times, we played really well and passed the ball well. So, if we keep creating those types of chances and put them away then hopefully we can win a couple of games.
"We have to keep with that same approach and try and get some wins. The first 20 minutes, we looked a bit fearful of them and what they could do and we couldn't keep the ball and then we realised that we could play bit and create chances ourselves and it was completely different after that.
"We can't look at the last three games, [though]. We are looking at the next game and if we can win that it helps us a lot. The last three games will be big games but every game from now on is big. We are not writing off Man City and thinking just the three after that as the more you lose the harder the next games becomes.
"Those games are hard as well as the teams are down the bottom and fighting for their lives as well. So we look to Man City and have to believe that we go there and get some points from that and if we do it will be a great confidence boost for the team and sets us up nicely for those three games."