Wellington Phoenix have thrown away a golden chance in their battle to avoid the A-League Women wooden spoon, conceding a late equaliser against Brisbane Roar.

Shea Connors finished a breakaway effort to cancel out Marisa van der Meer's first-half header in a 1-1 draw at Sky Stadium on Saturday.

The Phoenix started the afternoon five points adrift at the bottom of the table, eager to avoid another last-placed finish after their inaugural season last time out.

Natalie Lawrence's side played above their station, bossing the Roar for much of the afternoon, finishing with 61 per cent possession and 20 shots.

Brisbane were without Matildas pair Katrina Gorry and Larissa Crummer, who were held back by coach Garrath McPherson after knocks on international duty.

Wellington's lead came from a set-piece, with Mackenzie Barry earning a free kick out wide after 26 minutes when Indiah-Paige Riley mowed her down.

Free-kick specialist Michaela Foster sent a teasing cross into the box which Van der Meer headed past keeper Hensley Hancuff, who was torn between attempting to punch clear and staying on her line.

Hancuff bounced back shortly after to deny Emily Clegg's well-struck shot with a superb one-handed save at the near post.

Wellington were well on top and searching for a second when Brisbane hit them with a sucker-punch 10 minutes from time.

Ayesha Norrie controlled a goal kick and quickly played a through-ball to Connors, who raced clear and finished clinically for her third strike of the campaign.

Lawrence fumed that Norrie was still on the pitch after the Roar captain lashed out at Betsy Hassett, shoving her in the head in an off-the-ball incident around a half-hour earlier.

"That really gets to me ... I don't know how that's not a red card," she said.

"We deserved to win that game. I don't think we've been that dominant in a game yet in our history."

Wellington substitute Paige Satchell missed a 96th-minute chance to win it, running out of road to shoot after a one-on-one battle with Hancuff well off her line.

The result keeps Wellington four points behind second-bottom Newcastle Jets, who lost 4-0 to Melbourne City on Saturday afternoon.

The Phoenix have two matches in hand on the Jets and will travel to Newcastle in three weeks.

The point keeps Brisbane Roar in seventh, six points behind the finals places and needing an unlikely late rally to make the top four.

"Our job is to make sure that we are there when someone slips up ... things can turn around quickly," McPherson said.