A 97th-minute penalty has secured Wellington a vital 2-1 A-League win over Adelaide United and moved the Phoenix into the competition's top six.
Wellington have secured a vital 2-1 A-League win over Adelaide United thanks to a last-gasp penalty winner from marquee man Tomer Hemed.
The Phoenix threw everything forward in the dying minutes of Sunday's Anzac Day clash at WIN Stadium in pursuit of a winner, and were rewarded when substitute Jashua Sotirio was clattered by Reds' goalkeeper Joe Gauci in the fifth minute of added time.
Israel international Hemed, who had missed a big chance just minutes before, coolly slotted home the spot kick to earn the Phoenix a vital three points in their quest to sneak into the finals.
"A very valuable three points tonight against a very good opposition," Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay said.
"That's four games now, three we've won and one we've drawn.
"Very important for us at this back end of the season to pick up these points.
"Losing this game would have put a big dent into our season."
The win lifts Wellington up to sixth on the ladder, level on points with Western Sydney but with a superior goal difference over the Wanderers.
After an entertaining, but goalless, first half, Adelaide hit the front early in the second through Stefan Mauk.
The Reds' captain finished off a fine team move down the right for his seventh goal of the season in the 51st minute to put the visitors into a deserved lead after a bright start to the second period.
Their lead lasted just eight minutes before Phoenix youngster Ben Waine scored his fourth goal in as many games.
The 19-year-old picked up a loose ball after Hemed had been felled by Adelaide defender George Timotheou when the Israeli latched on to a wonderful through ball by Ulises Davila, Waine rounding Gauci to roll the ball home into an empty net.
Knowing a win would take them top of the ladder, Adelaide poured forward searching for a winner with Phoenix goalkeeper Oli Sail making a number of crucial saves, including one excellent effort low to his right to deny Reds' fullback Ryan Strain.
Adelaide coach Carl Veart believed there may have been a handball in the build-up to both of the Phoenix's goals but said his team had been punished for not finishing the game off earlier.
"The players are disappointed. I'm disappointed. We let the game slip really," Veart said.
"We've only got ourselves to blame, we had enough opportunities to win that game."
Adelaide will look to bounce back on Friday when they host Western United at Coopers Stadium while Wellington's next match is a trip to Brisbane to face the Roar on Saturday.