Wellington Phoenix languish one off the bottom of the A-League, after falling to a 2-1 loss against lowly Newcastle Jets at Wollongong.
The NZ side, forced to relocate across the Tasman during COVID-19, fell behind after just eight minutes and lagged by two goals early in the second half, and needed an 85th-minute penalty from Ulises Davila to challenge the scoreboard.
With just a controversial draw against Macarthur FC to show for their opening three games, the Phoenix sit above only Melbourne Victory, who have two losses in as many outings.
Victory gifted the Jets their first points of the campaign to leapfrog the Phoenix on the table.
"It was a frustrating night," admits coach Ufuk Talay. "We started off positive and had some good chances, but weren't clinical enough in the box - and if you don't score goals, you don't win games.
"We had a lot of the ball and a lot of opportunities to win this game. We know we need to get better with our transition and putting the ball in the back of the net."
The Phoenix had other opportunities to score. Video review deprived them a penalty, after Tomer Hemed was felled inside the box early, while Davila found the woodwork with a spectacular effort in the 13th minute.
They dominated statistically, outshooting their opponents 23-11, with 8-3 on target, enjoyed 65 percent possession and strung together 560 passes, almost twice as many as Newcastle. Wellington were awarded 10 corners to their rivals' four, but still could not capitalise.
Their only goal came after defender Blake Archbold brought Cam Devlin down in the penalty area and Davila slotted his first goal of the season.
"We believe in our process and our principles in the way that we play and what we need to do to win," insists Talay. "Football is about confidence and we'll continue the work that we're doing, and try and make it better."
Their next opportunity will come next Sunday, when they travel to Central Coast Mariners.