Wellington Phoenix had everything to lose going into Sunday's A-League clash with Gold Coast United, and coach Ricki Herbert was a relieved man to come away with a 2-0 victory.
The home win boosted the Phoenix back into third place on the ladder, but given their dominance in the attacking third, the margin should have been bigger.
Recent draws against Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners had marked the youthful Gold Coast side as a team to respect despite their last place on the ladder and the turmoil and uncertainty of the past week.
It wasn't until late Friday night that the United players knew they would even play the game, when the Queensland Supreme Court dismissed owner Clive Palmer's application for an injunction after Football Federation Australia revoked his A-League licence.
Wellington managed 14 shots on goal in the opening 45 minutes to Gold Coast's one, but only captain Andrew Durante's 28th minute goal separated the two teams at the break.
It took until the 92nd minute for Wellington to secure the win, Nick Ward's match-sealer coming as Gold Coast threw everything forward in search of a late equaliser.
Herbert said afterwards that the potential had been there for Gold Coast to derail the Phoenix's end-of-season finals run.
"This game had everything written across it to trip our season up, but it didn't," he said afterwards.
"It was pretty comfortable at the end, but there were a few heart flutters from time to time."
The match, in front of a crowd of 7431, was crucial for the Phoenix, who have three tough games coming up, with away matches against the two Melbourne teams before a final home game against competition leaders Central Coast.
Gold Coast coach Mike Mulvey was pleased with the way his young charges withstood the Wellington onslaught, particularly in the first spell, after a challenging week.
"Our performance was a little shaky in the first half, but in the second we played our football," he said.
"We've got a lot of young players who've been forced before their time to get a game, and they're learning. But the honeymoon period is over - it's a question now of learning how to win."
Durante paid tribute to Gold Coast's never-say-die attitude, and their last-quarter rally which kept the Phoenix under real pressure.
"They could have thrown the towel in, and it could have been an easy game," he said.
"I thought they were very good - they're a young team, and they tried to play some good football. But at the end of the day, the experience and stability of our team shone through."