In the battle of the low-scoring cellar dwellers both sides went into the contest equal on points and lacking quality in front of goal.

Mariners had the ball in the area 22 times in the first half but had to wait until the 46th minute to break the deadlock.

Andrew Hoole weaved his way into the danger zone, lifted the ball towards De Silva who, ghosting in from deep, slid it past Tando Velaphi for the only goal of the game.

Phoenix showed more attacking intent after the break, with spells of dominance, but spurned numerous chances, with the best falling to Roy Krishna, Andrija Kaluderovic, Michael McGlinchey and Matija Ljjujic.

"In a lot of our games we've gone ahead but not been able to hold on for whatever reason," De Silva told Fox Sports post-match.

"I think tonight we fought extra hard down to the last minute and we were able to hang onto those three points.

"I know runs from deep are hard to defend, and I started a little bit deep and I know Hooley's got that in his locker to whip a nice ball in.

"It was a quality ball and I was happy just to stretch and get a toe in there and of course get the goal as well.

"I'm happy I scored but...what's important is that we do score and get those three points."

Mariners v Phoenix player ratings

De Silva had a great chance to net a brace in the 94th minute but couldn't get the right swerve on the ball.

He added: "It's been a tough season for us but for sure these these three points are really important for us and hopefully we'll kick on for the rest of the season.

"A lot of games we've gone ahead and if we'd been able to hold on we wouldn't be at the boytom we'd be somewhere in the (top) six.

"Unfortunately that's football, that's how it's been and we'll just try and finish strong in these last games and there's nothing we can do about the previous games."

The former Roda JC player admitted it's the first time in his professional career that he's played 20 games in a season.

"I played a fair few games in Holland but not like this, week in and week out," the 20-year-old said. "So yeah it's been an important season for me and I'm enjoying playing football." 

The result sees Mariners move to 8th on the A-League ladder, leap-frogging Perth Glory who are still to play. While the Phoenix remain bottom on 17 points.

Man of the Match Andrew Hoole says winning was the only thing on the mind of Paul Okon's men going into the game. 

"That was the focus coming into the game tonight," he told Fox Sports.

"It was pretty much do or die for us, so to  get three points is massive. A few games to go now so hopefully we can push on.

"When you're not winning games it's hard to find that winniing mentality again. But we've got another win, so we'll push on now and the main focus now is three points next week against Perth away so we'll make sure we're ready for that one."