The Phoenix have been crushed by the Melbourne Victory 4-1 in their A-League match at Wellington.
One player was sent off from each team in an ill-tempered affair that secured the Victory a place in the playoffs, while the Phoenix languish in second to last place in the 10-team competition.
The Victory's first goal came in the ninth minute, when Besart Berisha cleverly backheeled a Kosta Barbarouses cross under Phoenix goalkeeper Glenn Moss.
Ten minutes later, Oliver Bozanic scored the visitor's second with a low drive from the edge of the box past the outstretched Moss.
The match was marred by a bizarre incident in the 35th minute in which Berisha was given a red card while receiving treatment for an injury.
The striker had copped an accidental elbow to the back of the head while competing for a header and held up the match for several minutes while being attended to.
Phoenix captain Andrew Durante approached the prone player and offered some advice, at which Berisha lashed out with his boot.
The striker was sent off for the kick by referee Ben Williams, who also showed a yellow card to Durante for his intervention.
The Victory took their two-goal advantage into half-time and, after the break, their one-player deficit was cancelled when Phoenix mid-fielder Albert Riera received his second yellow card for pulling Barbourouses down from behind.
Barbarouses slotted the Victory's third goal two minutes later with an assist from Gui Finkler, giving Wellington fans a glimpse of the two players' goal-scoring ability, which has been signed by the Phoenix for next season.
The Phoenix got on the scoreboard with a goal from Roly Bonevacia in the 83rd minute and the gap would have closed further two minutes later had Michael McGlinchy not missed a penalty.
The Victory restored their three-goal advantage in injury time when George Howard slid home an Archie Thompson cross.