Team of Choice captain Kurt Lentjies delivered a telling blow to the Citizens’ Absa Premiership title hopes as his 84th-minute free-kick proved the difference between the sides on Workers’ Day, leaving City third in the standings and two points adrift of the summit.
True to Tinkler's words, striker Lehlohonolo Majoro didn't affect the game as he was chasing lost causes, failing to even manage a single shot on target before being substituted, while City's two key players, Lebogang Manyama and Aubrey Ngoma - who have scored 16 league goals between them this season - were also unable to produce anything close to their best.
And, former Orlando Pirates coach Tinkler admitted it was a poor performance from his side and shouldered the responsibility for not getting the best out of his players.
“It was far from pretty and there are no excuses and we were just not good enough. TWe didn't put in a performance that we should have,” Tinkler told reporters after the game.
"We've been very good the whole year and this is obviously our first loss this year but I can't really point the finger at one person. Collectively we were very, very poor.
"Tactically, we were poor, decision making, we were poor, and I don't think it was Maritzburg putting us under pressure. I don't think Maritzburg’s shape was good, no. We just didn't show up.
"For that, I must take responsibility because the (Cape Town City] players looked very flat, we didn't look motivated, we panicked every time we got on the ball.
"The minute we'll start [to press] we'll give the ball away to them [Maritzburg], and that raises questions in my head: was it too much pressure leading up to this game or did I not motivate them enough knowing that you’ve just come off a good result against [Kaizer] Chiefs? I don't think it was a great performance at all."
With only four league matches to go this term, Tinkler is not counting his chicken yet and feels there can be a lot of twists and turns before the season ends.
"There's so much can happen and there are four games [remaining for City], and we’re just going to focus on the extra one now and try and get the result against Free State Stars," he added.
"What is important is that we need to bounce back from this and bring the guys back to earth, and hopefully we see a better performance in the next game."
Tinkler will have to dust his team off from this loss when they host Serame Letsoaka's Free State Stars on Friday at Athlone stadium.