Sidelined with injury for nearly two months, Phoenix midfielder Michael McGlinchey celebrated his return with a crucial goal in Wellington's 1-0 A-League win over Central Coast Mariners.
McGlinchey's ninth-minute goal proved decisive in strong winds and swirling rain at Westpac Stadium, as Wellington recorded just their fourth win of the season.
Sitting eighth on the A-League ladder going into tonight's game, Wellington were without top goal-scorer Roy Krishna, who was red-carded in last week's 2-1 loss away to Perth Glory.
But McGlinchey's return and that of defensive midfielder Vince Lia from suspension, combined with an outstanding showing from Kosta Barbarouses, got the Phoenix home.
The Mariners, 10th on the ladder and with five losses from their last six matches, looked to have found their timing early.
But Wellington responded clinically when an inch-perfect Roly Bonevacia pass found McGlinchey.
He rounded fellow All White Storm Roux before unleashing a raking strike which flashed past goalkeeper Paul Izzo on his near post.
The Mariners attacks were limited mainly to solo forays, Connor Pain and Fabio Ferreira both running strongly at the defence when they found space in the midfield.
But while Wellington dominated possession, forcing seven corners in the first half, a second goal proved elusive.
McGlinchey continued to prove troublesome down the left, while Shane Smeltz looked dangerous with the ball at his feet.
Barbarouses featured with a couple of excellent late chances, but a heavy touch and good defensive work from Liam Rose closed him down as the Phoenix surged forward.
Two minutes later, Barbarouses looked to have set up Bonevacia with a beautiful pull-back, only for the Dutchman to blast wide.
Central Coast wrestled back some midfield control in the second spell, Nick Montgomery pushing forward and Pain working hard to create more opportunities for O'Donovan.
But Wellington finished the stronger, chances to late substitutions Hamish Watson and Adam Parkhouse keeping Izzo on his toes inside the last 10 minutes.