Wellington's Tim Brown produced a signature late header to end the Phoenix's away drought in the A-League and rub salt into Gold Coast's wounds.
In a match full of wasted chances at both ends, it was Wellington's international Brown who dramatically broke the stalemate in the 88th minute.
The All Whites midfielder stepped up for a perfect finish from Daniel's curling free kick to give his side the three points.
It lifted the Phoenix to 24 points, one point from the top three behind a stumbling Melbourne Heart and also gave them a first win in Australia since last season's 1-nil win in Adelaide in February.
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert says it gets that little monkey off their back and it's that type of competition where it's so tough and tight that points are going to be very important away.
Herbert praised goalkeeper Mark Paston, who replaced incumbent Tony Warner and pulled off a number of saves.
Rubbing salt into the Gold Coast's wounds, who remain bottom, striker Dylan Macallister reaggravated his hamstring injury in his comeback match.
Also last night Perth beat Melbourne Heart 2-1.