Adelaide United have brought Wellington's A-League mini-revival to an abrupt halt with a dogged 1-0 win on Saturday at Westpac Stadium.
Young forward George Blackwood's first-half strike proved the crucial difference as the fifth-placed Reds looked to cement their spot in the playoffs.
The loss ends a Phoenix run of 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 a hamstring injury.
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.
The Phoenix looked most dangerous on the counterattack, Adam Parkhouse's pace creating a couple of half chances midway through the first half.
But Adelaide were the more measured, building up through the middle, without really threatening until the 32nd minute.
Blackwood latched onto Ryan Kitto's through ball, and exposed Wellington's lack of pace in central defence as he burst clear.
Lewis Italiano could only get half a hand on the 20-year-old's strike, which bounced through the keeper's legs into the net for Blackwood's fourth goal of the season.
Despite coming off a 5-0 shellacking last weekend by Melbourne City, Adelaide continued to make most of the running early in the second half, with Ben Garrucio and Nikola Mileusnic constant threats down the left.
Wellington picked up their work rate in the midfield, but struggled to create chances in front of goal.
Michael McGlinchey came close with a 60th-minute cross which skimmed the crossbar, then blasted in an 85th-minute strike which forced a strong save from keeper Paul Izzo.
Alex Rufer's 90th-minute volley looked to have Izzo beaten but cannoned off the crossbar, the Phoenix running out of ideas and time to remain mired at the bottom of the ladder.