Nottingham Forest gave their Premier League survival hopes a much-needed shot in the arm after beating Brighton 3-1 at the City Ground.
Forest were on an irreversible slide back into the Championship after a horror run of 11 games without a win dating back to February, but they stopped the rot and moved out of the bottom three.
Another win was on the cards after the Seagulls went ahead through Facundo Buonanotte’s goal on his first Premier League start after Brennan Johnson had conceded an early penalty for Forest.
But an own goal from Pascal Gross on the stroke of half-time and second-half efforts from Danilo and Morgan Gibbs-White gave them a crucial victory.
This will renew belief that they can avoid relegation in their first season in the top flight for 23 years and is likely to end any lingering doubts over Steve Cooper’s future.
Brighton were looking to bounce back from their heartbreaking FA Cup semi-final defeat against Manchester United, but this loss hurt their European ambitions as they dropped to eighth, but they have games in hand on the teams above them.
With their efforts on Sunday at Wembley, Forest sniffed an opportunity and started brightly with the hope of catching their cold visitors.
They created the perfect opportunity to take the advantage they needed when they were awarded an early penalty after Pervis Estupinan tripped Neco Williams.
Jason Steele was on the bench for Brighton at Wembley and watched as Robert Sanchez failed to save any United penalties in the shootout and showed his team-mate how it was done, beating Johnson’s effort in the 10th minute.
There was a sense that Forest desperately needed that to go in as Brighton began to take control.
Kaoru Mitoma was a constant threat and almost created an opening as he chipped Serge Aurier and Felipe down the left and raced up Julio Enciso, whose shot was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Keylor Navas .
Forest struggled to recreate that early energy, but had another great chance to go ahead in the 32nd minute when Danilo Johnson put the ball on target but, under a challenge from Lewis Dunk, the Wales shot went wide.
There was no way Forest were going to miss two such golden chances and Brighton went ahead five minutes later.
Navas had them to thank as a double fault allowed Buonanotte to enjoy the perfect start to the series overall.
The goalkeeper’s poor goal kick gave the visitors straight possession back and then he could only palm away Solly March’s shot in the penalty area, giving the 18-year-old the easiest of taps.
But to their credit, Forest kept going and it was vital that they got deep in first half stoppage time.
A nice touch saw Taiwo Awoniyi set up by Renan Lodi on the left and Gross headed in his cross at the near post, and Steele could only get a hand to it.
Going into the break level was huge for Forest, although they almost fell behind just before the hour mark as Brighton sliced them open on the counter attack.
Buonanotte was sent clear and held possession smartly before sliding in Mitoma, who made his first-time effort agonizing.
The atmosphere at the City Ground appeared to be changed by a long delay following Williams’ nasty injury, sustained on the stretcher after his clash with Johnson, and the cover was lifted in the 69th minute and Forest ahead.
Danilo did well to close down Moses Caicedo on the halfway line and then ran onto Awoniyi’s pass before heading into the far corner to send the home fans wild.
Gibbs-White had chances to make the final 20 minutes more comfortable, but he shot over from the edge of the area and Forest had some defending to do.
But any nerves were settled in stoppage time as they were awarded another penalty after VAR spotted Dunk’s handball from a corner and Gibbs-White did what Johnson failed to do by sending Steele the wrong way.