Both teams were far from their best in front of a diminished 9253-strong crowd which left Sydney winless in four games and Phoenix without a victory in four straight away fixtures.
Foul after foul disrupted the rhythm of play - Sydney conceded 29 to Wellington's 14 - as Sky Blues captain Alex Brosque grew increasingly frustrated with referee Chris Beath.
Despite signalling he might start fresh legs after the weekend's sweltering battle in Perth, Sydney coach Graham Arnold fielded an unchanged line-up.
It was perhaps explanation for why Phoenix pulled most of the midfield strings, as Roly Bonevacia continued his exercise of attracting multiple opponents before trying to escape.
But there was always the feeling Sydney would be the side to make good in the front third, maybe because of their 15 shots to their foes' six - or maybe due to Filip Holosko's standout display in attack.
Twelve minutes in, the Slovakian international pounced on a defensive error at the edge of the box and curled the ball, only for Phoenix goalkeeper Glen Moss to tip it around the post.
Holosko turned provider in the second half, slipping the ball into space in the penalty area, but Brosque hit his effort inches wide of the far post.
Midway through the cramped proceedings, a smaller-than-usual gathering of Sydney's The Cove supporters made clear their feelings about Sunday's News Corp Australia article which named 198 people banned from matches.
"You can name us, try and shame us, but you'll never break us," read the first of the group's banners, while another read "FFA standing silent as our rights are trampled" in a reference to Football Federation Australia's belated response this week.
The match opened slightly in the later stages with the home side introducing Brandon O'Neill, Andrew Hoole and Matt Simon.
Arnold's team should have claimed all three points in the 84th minute when Brosque beat Moss but hit the post and the ball bounced agonisingly across the face of goal.