Wellington Phoenix have been held to their second consecutive goalless draw in their A-League clash against Adelaide United on Friday.
The Phoenix had opportunities to break the deadlock against the second-placed South Australians - particularly during a dominant second half - but couldn't find the net, even after their opponents were reduced to 10 men late in the contest.
While the result stretches the Phoenix's unbeaten streak to six games, they'll be disappointed not to come away with three points they desperately need to keep the finals within reach.
Goalkeeper Oli Sail was the stand-out for the Phoenix, keeping his goal intact in the face of Adelaide fire with some spectacular sequences of saves.
The rejigged Phoenix were missing key players Louis Fenton and Cameron Devlin due to suspension, with Steven Taylor starting alongside Joshua Laws at the back and Sam Sutton for the first time this season, and a lack of cohesion was evident early.
The Kiwi side weren't able to put a shot on target in the first half, as the Adelaide defence used a heavy-handed defensive approach to stifle the Phoenix's weapons.
In the second half, the Phoenix midfield - led by captain Ulisa Davila - found some rhythm, but couldn't translate that into goals.
In the 74th minute, Ryan Strain was shown a red card, after a second yellow card offense, but the Phoenix were unable to cash in one their man advantage down the stretch.
With five games remaining, the Phoenix sit three points below sixth-placed Brisbane Roar, who have three games in hand.
"It's disappointing," says Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay. "It's a game we needed to win.
"At the end of the day not losing in Adelaide is a positive but we needed three points."
To compound their issues, the Phoenix may also be without star Davila next weekend, after the Mexican was forced from the field with a hamstring injury in the second half.
"It's been a challenging season for us in the sense that we've had no home games, no home fans, and especially when you’re chasing a game I believe the crowd does help," Talay says.
"But we persevere in the end, we've got a good group of boys.
"We are resilient - you can see that in the way that we play and the way we perform - and the players will grow from this and they'll learn a lot from the challenges we’ve had this season."
The Phoenix now travel to Melbourne to face the top-of-the-table Melbourne City on May 16, before heading back to New Zealand for the first time this season to face Western United in Wellington on May 22.