Wellington Phoenix have succumbed 1-0 to Macarthur FC at Wollongong's WIN Stadium in a subdued performance.
The Phoenix were without in-form attacking midfielder Reno Piscopo, who was ruled out with a calf injury sustained in their 4-1 victory over Melbourne Victory on Wednesday.
In his place, Clayton Lewis shifted further forward in an attacking midfield role, but wasn't able to make a major contribution.
Playing their third game in a week, Wellington suffered an early blow, with instrumental defender Steven Taylor subbed off after 10 minutes with a hip injury, but the 'Nix stressed the move was precautionary, so he should be available for their next game.
The first half was a cagey affair, with the Phoenix not able to create any clearcut chances and left-back James McGarry having the only notable shot on goal, deflected wide.
The visitors made a bright start to the second half and created the game's first real chance, when a well-worked corner routine forced Oliver Sail into a smart save.
The home side grew into the second half and created two chances. David Ball brought down a McGarry cross, but could only fire his shot over the bar, before Ulises Davila threaded a nice ball throw to Tomer Hamed, who dragged his shot wide.
Macarthur broke the deadlock 20 minutes into the second half through a horror moment for Wellington defender Tim Payne.
Ivan Franjic fired in a dangerous cross, which Payne tried to clear, but could only deflect on target. Sail made a wonderful save down low, but Denis Genreau fired home from close range for the game's only goal.
The Phoenix struggled to create any meaningful chances, as they threw bodies in hope of a late equaliser, but it wasn't to be for the Phoenix.
The disappointing defeat sees them remain ninth, four points behind Sydney in sixth place, but the defending champions have two games in hand.