Josh Onomah's stoppage-time winner kept Fulham in the hunt for the Championship's automatic promotion places as they squeezed past resolute Birmingham City at Craven Cottage.
Onomah swept home from 12 yards in the fifth minute of added time to reward a late Fulham flourish as the Cottagers moved back to within four points of second-placed West Bromwich Albion.
Scott Parker's side, without suspended 23-goal top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic, had looked set to register a blank for the third time in four games since the Championship's resumption on 20 June.
It took them more than 85 minutes to truly threaten Blues keeper Lee Camp, who then produced fine saves to deny Joe Bryan, Bobby Decordova-Reid and Onomah before the latter's decisive strike.
Blues had created the better chances to that point and teenager Jude Bellingham, reportedly Borussia Dortmund-bound this summer, could have had a hat-trick in the first 15 minutes.
The 17-year-old fluffed his first opening and was later denied by Cottagers keeper Marek Rodak and the woodwork as Fulham escaped unpunished for a string of sloppy early defensive errors.
Tough run ahead for Fulham Onomah's late goal keeps Fulham in contention for a top-two spot but after defeats to promotion rivals Brentford and Leeds in their first two post-lockdown games, they can afford no more slip-ups.
They now face a definitive run of three games in a week against other sides in the top six - the visit of Cardiff on Friday sandwiched in between midweek trips to Nottingham Forest and West Brom.
While the play-offs still appear their likeliest destination, they will have Mitrovic back - from a three-game ban for elbowing Leeds' Ben White - to face Cardiff and Albion.
They missed him badly against Birmingham, struggling to create any opportunities of note until a dramatic finale that left brave Blues empty-handed.
Camp foiled Onomah's well-struck 30-yarder and made a double save from Bryan and Decordova-Reid's follow-up but was helpless when Harrison Reed fed Onomah to steer home at the death.
Blues still not safe despite dogged display Birmingham deserved at least a draw in west London, but a tally of 49 points with five games still remaining gives them every chance of ensuring survival.
Pep Clotet's 17th-placed team will be aware, though, that many of the sides below them have been picking up points.
This defeat extended their winless run to nine games and were left to rue Bellingham's early misses, most notably when he latched on to Michael Hector's loose backpass, only to lose possession in trying to round Rodak.
Bellingham then curled another chance straight at Rodak before putting a close-range header on to the crossbar after the keeper parried Jeremie Bela's cross into the air.
Fulham boss Scott Parker: "There was a sense of relief because the longer the game goes on and you miss a couple of big chances before that, you start wondering whether it's not your day.
"Fair play to my team because in the absence of Mitrovic, we had to find a different way and still be that attacking threat, which I thought we were today - large parts of the game we dominated.
"We needed to be patient, we needed to work our moments and the way they set up it was always going to be a game not full of massive chances.
"It's a massive win for us and with the amount of games still to be played I think there's still going to be many twists and turns.
That's back-to-back wins which is massive and we'll keep pushing.
" Birmingham head coach Pep Clotet: "I think the first shot on target for Fulham was in the 65th minute.
We created enough chances to take the lead but unfortunately they didn't go in.
We should score those chances.
"I think the result is completely unfair and unlucky for our team but that is how the game is.
I think it was us who had the clear chances in this game.
We deserved a point, maybe more.
"But we completely bounced back from a performance point of view from the last two games and our confidence will be intact after that performance.
"I never look over my shoulder at the table, I always want to look at what is in front of me.
It's always about catching the teams above you.