Ulises Davila delivered the killer blow as Western Sydney slumped to a contentious 2-1 loss to Wellington Phoenix in Auckland, extending their miserable A-League run to four successive defeats.
Mexican Davila converted a hotly-contested penalty in the 89th minute to hand Wellington their third straight win and leave the visitors bursting with frustration after dominating most of an entertaining encounter at Eden Park on Saturday.
Wanderers players complained bitterly after referee Daniel Elder made the key ruling, when Davila's strike on goal blasted into the hand of midfielder Pirmin Schwegler, who had no time to react inside the box.
VAR official Nick Waldron advised Elder to take a look at the replay and the players in red and black were furious when he pointed to the spot. They also surrounded him after the fulltime whistle.
Wanderers captain Mitchell Duke tempered criticism of Elder immediately after the game.
"The penalty decision changed the game for us. I think we were a bit unfortunate today, I think we deserved a lot more," he said.
"But football's a ruthless game. If you don't finish your chances, you get punished. We had enough to win about three games in the first half."
Earlier, Nicolai Muller's first goal for the Wanderers cancelled out the game's opener from Wellington winger Jaushua Sotirio, against the Sydney club he represented for the five previous seasons.
Both teams were unchanged from a week ago but their approach was vastly different.
Wellington dominated their win over Adelaide last week but they were completely shut out in the first half by a Western Sydney side who bossed the midfield and looked set to put their patchy efforts of recent weeks behind them.
Muller was the game's most dangerous figure, the former Bundesliga regular testing Phoenix goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic several times as his team unleashed nine shots to two before the break.
Sotirio's opener came two minutes into the second half via a brilliant flick on from England striker David Ball.
The speedy winger raced through before cleverly lobbing goalkeeper Daniel Lopar.
He later delivered a cutting assessment of his former team-mates' defending.
"We know they're slow at the back and it was a good flick from Bally. The 'keeper was in two minds and it was on to lob in," Sotirio said. "We've got the momentum now with three wins and hopefully we keep pushing through."
Muller barely had space and was on a tight angle in the 64th minute but rattled home a pinpoint equaliser inside the far post.
Davila's goal was his sixth for the season and his fourth from the penalty spot.
He becomes just the third Phoenix player to score goals in four successive games.