Adelaide United have brought the Phoenix' A-League mini-revival to an abrupt halt with a 1-0 win in Wellington.
Young forward George Blackwood's first-half strike proved the crucial difference on Saturday, as the fifth-placed Reds looked to cement their spot in the playoffs.
Blackwood latched onto Ryan Kitto's through ball in the 32nd minute, exposing Wellington's lack of pace in central defence as he burst clear to slot home his fourth goal of the season.
The win moves the Reds to within one point of fourth place, and was the perfect antidote for coach Marco Kurz's youthful team after last week's five-goal shellacking by Melbourne City.
"I didn't see the confidence I like to see from the boys, but the longer the game ran the better we played," Kurz said.
"We played very organised, very compact. We know we have the space for a counterattack, and in the right moment we scored the goal.
"Maybe it's not our best game, but it's a big fight and a very important win for us."
The loss ends a brief Phoenix run comprising two wins and a draw in three weeks.
Already without suspended centre back Marco Rossi, Wellington suffered a late blow when striker Roy Krishna dropped out of the starting line-up with hamstring tightness.
His presence, pace and playmaking were sorely missed up front, leaving striker Nathan Burns more isolated and Wellington's options in the front third limited.
A heel injury to Andrija Kaludjerovic in the first half slowed the Serbian striker, further restricting Wellington's attack before he was subbed off 18 minutes into the second half.
Wellington coach Darije Kalezic admitted his team had struggled to produce the attacking opportunities they'd managed recently.
"We didn't create a lot, and we were not powerful in the front third like usually we are," he said.
"In the second half, we played most of the time in Adelaide's half of the field, and we created two good chances but unfortunately we didn't score.
"We played really solid, we played from good organisation - it was a good team on the pitch, but tonight we were not strong enough in the final third."