A-League: Wellington Phoenix stay in playoff hunt with gritty win over Western Sydney Wanderers

Wellington Phoenix have kept their slim A-League finals hopes alive with a 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers in Parramatta.

The result moves the Phoenix up to seventh - just two points outside the top-six playoff spots - with two games to play and extends their remarkable late-season unbeaten run to nine games.

Phoenix midfielder David Ball gave the visitors a lead midway through the first-half, latching onto a stray ball from a corner to sneak one through at the near post.

Western Sydney equalised just a few minutes later, as Keanu Baccus pounced a scrambled ball in the box to fire home past Phoenix goalkeeper Oli Sail.

In the 42nd minute, Tomer Hemed rose to head home from a Clayton Lewis corner to give his side the lead into the halftime break.

In the second half, the Phoenix defence withstood a barrage from the desperate Wanderers, capped by Tim Paine's crucial block on a goal-bound strike in injury time to ensure they held on for a priceless three points.

The Kiwi side are now two points behind both Macarthur FC and Central Coast Mariners, although they have played a game more.

They will need to win their final two games against Perth Glory on Sunday at Eden Park and then Macarthur in the final round to have any chance of sneaking into the six.

"We defended very bravely tonight," says coach Ufuk Talay. "There was a lot of grit and determination in the players.

"We scored two very important goals through set-piece and we move on with the three points.

"We can only control what we can control and that's the main thing - to win our games and get the three points. Then whatever happens, happens at the end.”

The only downside for Talay's troops was a shoulder injury to Reno Piscopo that saw him leave the field in tears inside 15 minutes and may have endangered his chances of representing Australia at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

For the Wanderers, the defeat means the club are almost certain to miss the finals for a fourth straight season.