The former England winger was on the scoreboard again as he crossed against Doncaster Knights but, once more, it was not enough to prevent defeat.
They fell 40-19 at Emerald Headingley and suffered a 13th straight loss in all competitions.
The defeat was all the harder to stomach given it came against their derby rivals who had been just seven points ahead of them in the Championship table at the start of play.
“We’re doing some good things,” insisted Varndell. “We scored three good tries but two or three good tries when you’re conceding six or seven means it doesn’t matter. Flashes of brilliance are great but we need to be competitive and at the moment we’re killing ourselves with the penalties and turnovers.
“We get so far, get into their 22 and then turn over the ball. They kick downfield and we concede a try. It is demoralising.
“We have to keep working and keep sticking together. We have a big new year coming up.”
Bottom-placed Carnegie had targeted the Doncaster fixture as a turning point in their campaign but they will resume at Cornish Pirates on January 12 still without a league success and staring relegation in the face.
“It’s disappointing as this was a big game for us in terms of the league,” continued Varndell.
“Basically, it was a relegation battle. It’s disappointing, then, to come away with nothing.
“We needed four tries at the very least. The effort is there and it’s never not been there; we work very hard for each other.
“Obviously we know we’re up against it and did from day one.
“But we’re here to play rugby and do the best we can.
“We’re doing that but it’s the inaccuracies, the penalties, the two yellow cards and us chasing the game…”
Part-timers Carnegie saw No 8 Guy Graham sin-binned at the start of the second period when they already trailed 21-5 and flanker Alex Humfrey received a card towards the end.
Varndell, 34, added: “We know there’s a lot of stuff to work on.
“It was frustrating – very frustrating – as we produced so many good things but we let ourselves down with those inaccuracies.
“When you’re defending turnover ball it’s very hard against any team.
“A lot of their tries came from our penalties, them kicking themselves out of trouble and then just keeping conceding penalties going backwards and backwards.
“You can only defend so long. It’s heartbreaking.”