Central Coast face a season-defining January after seeing out nearly the entire December without a goal.
Sunday night's New Year's Eve stalemate with Wellington did nothing for the Mariners' finals credentials, their impotence in front of goal extending to 372 minutes.
"Second half we pushed and pushed and pushed right until the end. We were hoping to get that opportunity," coach Paul Okon said.
"We go into those areas but again - which has probably happened far too often - we weren't able to find that final pass or cutback or cross."
The Mariners have slipped to eighth, just two points ahead of Western Sydney, who can overtake them on Monday with a win against Melbourne City.
They now face a huge month featuring games against heavyweights Melbourne Victory, Newcastle, City and Sydney FC before rounding out January against Brisbane.
It must all be achieved without star playmaker Danny De Silva and fellow Olyroos Trent Buhagiar and Tom Glover.
Goalkeeper Ben Kennedy, whose man-of-the-match display saved his side from a loss to the last-placed Phoenix, was more keen on looking up the table and pointing out that the Mariners still sit only three points adrift of sixth-placed Perth.
"It just takes that one or two goals to go in and the boys get confidence back," Kennedy said.
"We're working hard, we're doing everything right, we just can't get the ball in the net.
"But we have confidence in the boys up top to get the job done."