Adelaide United 3
Wellington Phoenix 1
The Wellington Phoenix tonight underlined the old sporting adage that little goes your way when you're propping up the table.
Playing in Adelaide, the Phoenix should have had a penalty when Nathan Burns was fouled inside the first four minutes.
Referee Peter Green remained silent and the ball fell to Roy Krishna, whose shot was deflected slightly on to the post. And that was as close as Wellington came to scoring until Logan Rogerson won and converted a soft penalty in the 84th minute.
By that time, though, the Phoenix were three down and the game was over as a contest.
With just five points from 12 games on the road this season and one win in their last eight, home and away, the Nix need all the help they can get.
The Australian commentators and pundits covering the match were unanimous that the Phoenix should have had an early spot kick. Taking the lead so soon could maybe have changed the course of the game.
Then again, probably not, because Wellington's penchant for alarming defensive lapses would have likely rendered a one-goal headstart little more than a minor irritant for the hosts.
After seeing off that early threat, Adelaide dominated the rest of the match. The Phoenix held out for most of the first half but then folded.
Oliver Sail, Wellington's fourth goalkeeper this season, made three handy saves in the opening half hour but was badly exposed when an unmarked Johan Absalonsen headed home at the near post just before the break.
When Ben Garuccio cut inside Scott Galloway and fired into the roof of the net on the hour mark, it was game over. The Phoenix seemed to acknowledge that by taking a defensive holiday which resulted in Nathan Konstandopoulos netting Adelaide's third two minutes later.
Wellington have two games left this season, both involving the Melbourne clubs chasing top four spots. The Phoenix play the Victory in Melbourne next Sunday, then host City at North Harbour's QBE Stadium the following Saturday, and all sorts of unwanted club records are looming.
With Central Coast just two points ahead, the Phoenix can still avoid the A-League wooden spoon. But tonight's defeat confirmed this side will have the worst points-to-games ratio in the club's 11-year history.
And having now conceded 52 goals in 25 games, they are also on track to surpass the club's worst defensive record of 54 goals conceded set in 2015-16.
Adelaide 3 (Johan Absalonsen 42, Ben Garuccio 61, Nathan Konstandopoulos 63)
Wellington 1 (Logan Rogerson 84 pen). Halftime: 1-0.