The Phoenix's dreams of scraping into the A-League playoffs are over.
A 92nd minute Michael McGlinchey equaliser kept their season alive last night against Sydney, but after Perth Glory beat Brisbane Roar in the later kickoff to lock up sixth spot, their faint playoff hopes were dashed.
Sydney's goal was controversial - coming from a penalty awarded by the video assistant referee. It was the first time the technology had been used in the A League, but was the correct call as Phoenix defender Marco Rossi had handled in the area.
The Phoenix were reliant on other results going their way, in their unlikely quest for sixth place.
Their season had looked over weeks ago, before a mini revival with the 5-0 win over Newcastle and a 3-0 victory in Melbourne. But those matches just papered over the cracks; before that the Phoenix had just won one of eight games, a run that probably proved terminal to their chances.
The home side lacked a cutting edge tonight. They had plenty of possession - and created some half chances - but on another night Sydney could have scored three.
Sydney have had an amazing season in the A League. They came to Wellington having scored the most goals (52), conceded the least (11) and had accumulated 62 points, streets ahead of any other team. They didn't really have much to play for tonight, aside from keeping their standards high and maintaining their momentum.
Phoenix coaches Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre left Michael McGlinchey and Shane Smeltz on the bench, while Lewis Italiano was preferred to Glen Moss in goal.
The first half was an even affair, that never reached any great heights. Roy Krishna had a couple of chances - using his pace to get the break on the Sydney defenders - but Danny Vukovic wasn't seriously threatened in the Sky Blues goal. Andrew Durante also popped up with a cleanly struck volley, which would have been a rarity, as the Phoenix skipper has only four goals in his long A League career.
Sydney came out of their shells in the second half, showing more pace. They had the better chances, but opened the scoring from a unlikely source. Rossi was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area by the video assistant referee, and play was brought back for a penalty, which was tucked away by Bobo in the 72nd minute. Sydney should have extended their lead through Alex Brosque before Michael McGlinchey's deft header in stoppage time.
Wellington Phoenix 1 (McGlinchey 90+2)
Sydney FC 1 (Bobo 72)