Southampton climbed five points clear of the relegation zone and drew level with Brighton after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s goal gave them a priceless victory.
Ralph Hasenhüttl surged on to the pitch, fists pumping, and must consider Premier League survival now very much within his grasp after pulling clear of Cardiff in 18th.
With a big week ahead of him, Hughton only made one change form the FA Cup triumph at Millwall with Yves Bissouma returning from suspension in midfield.
The Seagulls travel to Chelsea on Wednesday before the weekend FA Cup semi-final date at Wembley against Manchester City an occasion they could enjoy much more if there one position were more comfortable.
Hasenhüttl had three weeks to ponder his selection and with giant Danish centre back Jannik Vestergaard missing with a groin injury, the Austrian opted for a back four rather than his usual five-man defence.
The occasion was perfect for football but the position of both sides in the table rarely allowed for it. ‘Must not lose’ was perhaps a more apt label than ‘must win’ and neither side took risks.
The only shot on target early on was from Southampton’s Nathan Redmond who cut in from the left and fired into the near post with Mathew Ryan saving comfortably.
Danny Ings returned from his latest injury for the Saints and saw little of the ball until a clever pass from Stuart Armstrong gave him a sight of goal but Bernardo came across quickly to block the goal-bound effort.
Armstrong was part of the Scotland team embarrassed in Kazakhstan last week though was looking more at home in the sun-drenched Amex.
His volley was the next Saints effort to be blocked after a rapid counter-attack had set up the chance.
Saints were finishing the half much the better and Redmond had the next effort, wide of goal from an acute angle after clever work from Oriol Romeu and Ings.
The pressing that has seen Hasenhüttel likened to Jürgen Klopp paid dividends eight minutes after the break.
It was a goal started and finished by Hojbjerg who intercepted in midfield, Armstrong fed Redmond and he raced into the area before nudging the ball back into Hojbjerg’s path and the Dane poked it beyond Ryan.
That woke the Seagulls from their slumber with the home fans growing increasingly impatient.
Anthony Knockaert attempted to seize control just as he had against Crystal Palace but this time his swerving shot when the wrong side of the post.
Back came Southampton and Brighton had Dunk to thank for blocking Ryan Bertrand’s low shot with Ryan eaten.
Brighton were in the ascendancy as Southampton wilted in the sunshine.
Martin Montoya surges forward from right back and struck a 20 yard shot against the crossbar.
Angus Gunn them fumbled a high ball which Davy Propper attempted to tuck away under a challenge from Hojbjerg.
Michael Oliver waved away penalty appeals and when Hughton withdrew Propper a minute later, the Brighton manager was jeered with chants of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ from the home fans.
Southampton were just about surviving the onslaught though sub Jurgen Locadia did strike a shot on the turn which failed to trouble Gunn.
It was tense, it was nervy but the Saints are beginning to march again.
Brighton 0-1 Southampton
Burnley 2-0 Wolves
Crystal Palace 2-0 Huddesrfield
Leicester 2-0 Bournemouth
Manchester United 2-1 Watford
Burnley 2-0 Wolves Vital victory.
Man Utd 2-1 Watford Watford the better side for most of the match.
Brighton 0-1 SouthamptonSaints move five points clear of Huddersfield.
Leicester 2-0 BournemouthThree wins on the trot for Ballymena Bren.
Palace 2-0 Huddersfield. Unless Brighton equalise, Town go down with six games of the season left.
Crystal Palace 2-0 Huddersfield (Van Aanholt) Huddersfield are heading down. We knew that but there's no way back.
Leicester 2-0 Bournemouth (Vardy)The revival continues. Brilliant cross from Tielemans.
Burnley 2-0 Wolves (McNeil)Drills a shot through the crowd. Against the run of play ... but waht an important victory this will be.
Wolves have been on top for the entire second half
But Burnley continue to defend doggedly.
Terrific cross from Knockaert just fails to pick out Duffy.
If things stay as they are
Huddersfield's relegation will be confirmed.
Crystal Palace 1-0 Huddersfield (Milivojevic, pen)Money in the bank.
Penalty at Selhurst Park
Wilfried Zaha is brought down by Bacuna.
Andros Townsend misses a sitter
Twelve yards out and only the keeper to beat, he misses the target entirely.
Chance at Selhurst Park
Christopher Schindler puts his body on the line to stop Wilfried Zaha putting Palace ahead. (And given Burnley and Southampton are winning, putting Town in danger of going down tonight).
Brighton 0-1 Southampton (Hojbjerg) Set up by Redmond after another error in Brighton's midfield. They can't hold on to the ball.
No room for racism
How they stand if the half-time scores are the full-time results
14 Crystal Palace - 34
15 Brighton - 34
16 Burnley - 33
17 Southampton - 31
18 Cardiff - 28
Brighton 0-0 Southampton
Burnley 1-0 Wolves
Crystal Palace 0-0 Huddesrfield
Leicester 1-0 Bournemouth
Manchester United 1-0 Watford
Chances at Brighton
Knockaert dances down the right and stands up a cross for Glenn Murray who twists his header wide. Ings has a couple of tight chances as Southampton dominate but can't find a way through to goal.
Karlan Grant snakes his way through the Palace defence and, as Guaita, advances, tries to chip the keeper. But he gets it horribly wrong and spanners it miles wide.
'Nice touch for a big man'
Wes Morgan puts Leicester up with a delicate flick:
Chance for Huddersfield
Chris Loewe had set up a chance for Mooy who repays the debt with a cross for Loewe, picking him oit 10 yards out and he bludgeons the golden opportunity straight at Guaita.
Vardy misses a sitter
From 12 yards out he scuffs his shot wide, dragging it miles off target with his heel.
Pair of Palace chances
Durm blocks Batshuayi's close-range shot and then Schindler recovers to stop Schlupp who had given him the slip originally.
Callum Wilson has a golden opportunity to equalise for Bournemouth but hits it too close to Kasper Schmeichel.
Here's how Chris Wood helped put Burnley up
3 - Conor Coady has scored three own-goals in the Premier League this season; only Lewis Dunk (4 - 2017-18) and Martin Skrtel (4 - 2013-14) have scored more in a single campaign. Unlucky.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 30, 2019
Leicester 1-0 Bournemouth (Morgan)Sent off in their first meeting of the season, the captain now scores in successive games for Leicester.
Aaron Mooy unmarked at the back post for Huddersfield, found by Loewe's cross, but he fires his effort over the bar.
Having just seen it. it will go down and an own goal. Conor Coady getting the decisive touch.
Burnley 1-0 WolvesChris Wood puts the Clarets ahead, rounds the keeper from a free-kick and it takes a touch from Coady as it rebounds off the post.
While Huddersfield could go down today ...
Victory at Selhurst would take them off the bottom after Fulham predictably went down to the champions. You can read about another Craven Cottage defeat here.
For the other 3pm kick-off
Follow the action from Old Trafford with Adam Hurrey here.
Those teams in black and white
Brighton v Southampton
Brighton Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bernardo; Pröpper, Stephens, Bissouma; Knockaert, Murray, Jahanbakhsh.
Substitutes Button, Bong, Kayal, Locadia, Izquierdo, March, Burn.
Southampton Gunn; Valery, Bednarek, Yoshida, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Højbjerg; Armstrong, Redmond; Ings.
Substitutes McCarthy, Stephens, Austin, Elyounoussi, Gallagher, Targett, Sims.
Referee Michael Oliver (Ashington)
Burnley v Wolves
Burnley: Heaton, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Hendrick, Westwood, Cork, McNeil, Barnes, Wood.
Substitutes Hart, Lowton, Gudmundsson, Brady, Gibson, Ward, Vydra
Wolves Rui Patricio, Saiss, Coady, Boly, Traore, Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny, Cavaleiro, Jota.
Substitutes Ruddy, Doherty, Jimenez, Helder Costa, Gibbs-White, Vinagre, Kilman
Referee Chris Kavanagh (Manchester)
Crystal Palace v Huddersfield
Crystal Palace Guaita; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Dann, Van Aanholt; Meyer, Milivojevic, Schlupp; Townsend, Batshuayi, Zaha.
Substitutes Hennessey, Ward, Kouyate, Ayew, Benteke, McArthur, Kelly.
Huddersfield Hamer; Smith, Schindler, Kongolo, Durm; Bacuna, Hogg, Mooy; Pritchard, Löwe; Grant.
Substitutes Coleman, Kachunga, Williams, Stankovic, Hadergjonaj, Daly, Rowe.
Referee Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
Leicester v Bournemouth
Leicester Schmeichel, Chilwell, Morgan, Evans, Pereira, Ndidi, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes, Gray, Vardy.
Substitutes Soyuncu, Iheanacho, Ward, Okazaki, Mendy, Fuchs, Ghezzal
Bournemouth Begovic, Clyne, Mepham, Ake, Daniels, Brooks, Lerma, Gosling, Fraser, Wilson, King.
Substitutes Boruc, Ibe, Rico, Solanke, Simpson, Mousset, Stanislas
Referee Lee Mason (Portsmouth)
Leicester vs Bournemouth line-ups
�� Headline team news ahead of our @premierleague game against Leicester City at King Power Stadium.— AFC Bournemouth (@afcbournemouth) March 30, 2019
�� Gosling returns
�� Begovic in goal
�� Stanislas on bench
Matchday live ��: https://t.co/DOYLcT7l9Z#LEIBOUpic.twitter.com/q5QJVeAQVY
Crystal Palace vs Huddersfield teams
TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK:— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) March 30, 2019
Head Coach Jan Siewert has made three changes to the #htafc line-up for today’s game at @CPFC; 3pm kick-off at Selhurst Park.
➡️ @BenHamer21, Christopher Schindler and Jonathan Hogg
⬅️ @JonasLoessl, Jon Gorenc Stanković and Aaron Rowe#CRYHUD (AT) pic.twitter.com/H9EFmfqZV8
Burnley vs Wolves line-ups
Brighton vs Saints team news
�� Here’s how Albion line up for this afternoon’s game with @SouthamptonFC in the @premierleague.— Brighton & Hove Albion ⚽️ (@OfficialBHAFC) March 30, 2019
�� Matchday Live is presented by @SnickersUKCom.
�� Yves Bissouma replaces Beram Kayal in midfield.#BHAFC ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/hLlEQqPD3O
We have four traditional Saturday 3pm kick-offs for you, three of them with direct bearing on the battle against relegation. Should Huddersfield lose at Selhurst Park today and both Southampton and Burnley record victories (over Wolves at Turf Moor and Brighton at the Amex respectively), Town will go down, the first side to be certain of the drop before the end of March since Derby County stank out the Premier League 11 years ago under Billy Davies (six points from 14 matches) and Paul Jewell (five from 24).
Palace and Brighton are on 33 points, three ahead of Southampton and Burnley, five in front of Cardiff who host Chelsea tomorrow. The consensus view among the correspondents and pundits is that the final relegation place is really only between Cardiff, Burnley and Southampton but wins for Saints and Burnley today, a victory or even a point for Huddersfield at Palace - and given their performance at West Ham it isn’t beyond them - drags those two back into the brawl. All of them know that fear can be as infectious as hope.
Meanwhile at the King Power we have the orthodontist derby between Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City and Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth. Wes Morgan was sent off at the match at Dean Court and Bournemouth went on to win it 4-2 but Leicester have recaptured their verve and should run out winners.