Chesterfield's battle against the drop will go down to the wire after they secured a vital win over nine-man Bristol City.
Late goals from striker Glynn Hurst and skipper Mark Hudson ensured the Spireites will travel to Blackpool next weekend knowing that their fate is in their own hands and that three points will preserve their Nationwide Division Two status.
But the result means that City, who had Aaron Brown and Tony Butler sent off, will have to settle for a play-off place.
The home side started the day just one place and one point above the bottom four following a disastrous run of just two wins in 19 games since New Year's Day.
But the way they went about challenging high-flying City suggested the players, in Lee Richardson's first game as caretaker boss, knew they were in a must-win situation.
Chesterfield were the first to threaten following a dull opening period when Hudson beat the visitors keeper Steve Phillips with a low drive from 30 yards only to see his effort cannon back off the post.
Hudson again almost gave Chesterfield the lead but his header from Mark Innes' corner went just wide.
After Hurst was denied by Phillips on 66 minutes the game seemed to be drifting towards a goalless draw.
But three minutes later the match changed when referee Iain Williamson gave Brown and Butler their marching orders following a mass brawl on the halfway line.
Chesterfield struggled to make the most of their advantage but to the relief of the home fans Hurst was on hand to sweep the ball home four minutes from time after Steve Blatherwick nodded down Rob Edwards' corner.
Hudson wrapped up a priceless three points two minutes into stoppage time when he struck home a half-volley from 20 yards.
Afterwards a delighted Richardson said: "It was a great performance even when it was 11-a-side.
"There were times when it just didn't look like our day but we were the better team and got our just desserts at the end.
"We can now go to Blackpool full of belief." City manager Danny Wilson was left fuming by the referee's decisions.
"I find it incredible to believe that we had two players sent off in that incident,â€ he said.
"The only reason we lost is because of the sendings off. At the end of the day we didn't have enough men to pick up all their players."