Luton Town boosted their chances of remaining in the Championship with a victory over Hull City which leaves the Tigers’ survival hopes out of their own hands.
Kazenga LuaLua’s low 20-yard strike with five minutes remaining pulled Luton level on points with 21st-placed Charlton Athletic, who drew with Wigan Athletic earlier on Saturday.
The result leaves Hull three points adrift of both Luton and Charlton, although the relegation picture remains complicated by the Latics’ possible 12-point deduction for going into administration.
Wigan, who are 13th after drawing at The Valley, would drop down to League One as it stands because they are only 10 points above the Hatters and Addicks.
Bottom side Barnsley could also yet stay up, although they must win both of their remaining fixtures – starting against Nottingham Forest on Sunday – and hope other results go their way.
If the Tykes are able to beat promotion hopefuls Forest, it means all three relegation spots will need to be decided on the final day, with eight teams still not yet certain of survival.
But, of the eight, Huddersfield’s vastly superior goal difference means they are all but safe.
Hatters hit improved Hull’s hopes
Hull City boss Grant McCann responded to Tuesday’s 8-0 demolition by Wigan Athletic – during which they conceded seven first-half goals – by making six changes, including dropping goalkeeper George Long.
It did appear to have some impact during the first period against Luton, as a more direct approach saw them create the better of the chances, albeit none that seriously troubled Hatters keeper Simon Sluga.
After the break, however, Luton took control and looked by far the more likely to find a winner.
James Collins and Danny Hylton both missed good opportunities as the visitors poured forward, while Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu curled an effort narrowly wide of the post.
They eventually found a way through with five minutes left, however, when LuaLua fired a fizzing strike into the bottom corner from outside the box.
It means Luton, who have lost just two of their past 14 games, are now unbeaten in four going into Wednesday’s vital game against Blackburn Rovers.