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A Paul Ifill strike and goalkeeping heroics by Glen Moss enabled the Wellington Phoenix to at least delay ownership of the A-League's wooden spoon while damaging the Perth Glory's play-off prospects with a precious 2-1 victory at nib Stadium in Perth.
Ifill's third goal of the season - and first in 14 games - set the Phoenix on course to avoid joining their predecessors, the New Zealand Knights as joint owners of an unwanted competition milestone - eight successive defeats away from home.
The bottom-placed Phoenix defied the bookmakers - and the longest away trip in world football - to bank just their seventh victory of a tumultuous campaign.
With one match remaining against Melbourne Victory in Wellington on March 31 they have 27 points but a vastly inferior goal difference compared to closest rivals Melbourne Heart.
The Phoenix have a bye next week as the All Whites prepare to play their World Cup qualifier against New Caledoniain Dunedin on Friday - and will be keeping a watchful eye on the Heart's match against Brisbane next Sunday.
Regardless of their final position the Phoenix can at least reflect on positive performances since Chris Greenacre succeeded Ricki Herbert.
Fittingly Ifill played an integral role as the roving attacker finally had cause for celebration for the first time since his successful spot kick against the Newcastle Jets on November 18 - the club's previous away win.
The former Barbados international's only other goal came via a penalty - against the Melbourne Heart in round two - so toe-poking Jeremy Brockie's squared ball from the byline was predictably welcomed by the open arms of teammates.
For once Brockie - still neck-and-neck with the Central Coast Mariners striker Danny McBreen in the golden boot race on 15 goals - turned provider as he held off Glory captain Jacob Burns before crossing for Ifill.
Despite a desperate lunge by Josh Risdon, Ifill made enough contact to leave former Phoenix goalkeeper Danny Vukovic stranded in the 35th minute.
The Phoenix doubled their lead in the 66th minute when Stein Huysegems - restored to the starting line-up after suspension - climbed between two defenders to head a pinpoint Brockie cross past a motionless Vukovic as a partisan crowd fell silent.
Unfortunately for the Phoenix a two-goal buffer could not stave off exhaustion in energy-sapping conditions - and they had to withstand a late fightback from Perth.
Japanese import Ryo Nagai provided a glimmer of hope with 15 minutes remaining when he rose above Manny Muscat to pull one back.
The Phoenix then absorbed massive pressure and had Moss to thank for just their third win in 10 visits to Western Australia when he bravely thwarted Travis Dodd's incision deep in the box in stoppage time.
Greenacre reintroduced Huysegems and gave defender Ian Hogg a rare start and both moves paid off.
Huysegems popped up at an opportune moment; Hogg's start at left back forced All Whites international Tony Lochhead to play as a right back for the first time - a gamble Perth did not exploit as expected.
Lochhead was booked for a mistimed challenge on Nagai but was otherwise unfazed before making way for Isaka Cernak in the 63rd minute - a switch that saw Muscat revert to the back four.
While Ifill had a memorable match, All Whites' striker Shane Smeltz's generally subdued season continued.
The two-time golden boot winner has only seven goals in 2012-13 - equalling his lowest output in six A-League seasons.
Smeltz forced a sharp save from Moss low to his left five minutes before the break - the Kiwi's only threat until he was subbed for Dodd in the 65th minute.
The All Whites goalkeeper also had to be alert as halftime loomed when former Irish international Liam Miller looked on target to mark St Patrick's Day appropriately until the stopper's left glove intervened.
Wellington Phoenix 2 (Paul Ifill 35, Stein Huysegems 66) Perth Glory 1 (Ryo Nagai 75) Halftime: 1-0
- © Fairfax NZ News