Melbourne Victory secured third place in the A-League and consigned Wellington Phoenix to the wooden spoon with a 3-2 victory on Sunday.
With less than 10 minutes to go it looked like the teams were heading for a draw, which would have lifted the Phoenix above Melbourne Heart following their loss to Central Coast the previous day.
But Archie Thompson's 84th-minute strike sealed Wellington's fate and brought a disappointing close to a horror season which had promised so much but failed to deliver.
The defeat also signalled the end of goalkeeper Mark Paston's six-year Phoenix career following the 36-year-old's announcement earlier in the day that he was retiring.
Paston, who was handed the captain's armband for his final match, will not want to see replays of Victory's opening goal as he slipped in the box which allowed former Wellington team-mate Marco Rojas to shoot into an empty net.
The big New Zealander was then left stranded on his line as an unmarked Marcos Flores doubled Victory's lead in the second half.
Quickfire goals from Stein Huysegems and Jeremy Brockie gave the Phoenix a glimmer of hope of salvaging something from the season only for Thompson to put the final nail in the coffin with little Paston could do about it.
Victory's win confirmed their third-place finish and an elimination final against Perth Glory on Friday.