London, April 13: Nathan Redmond's first-half brace helped Southampton climb to the verge of Premier League survival in a 3-1 win over Wolves at St Mary's Stadium.
This Saints victory - a third in four matches - combined with Cardiff City's defeat elsewhere on Saturday moved Ralph Hasenhuttl's men eight points clear of the drop zone with just five matches to play.
With painful fightbacks the order of the day for both Southampton and Wolves last week, the hosts might well have felt that sinking feeling again when Redmond's early opener was cancelled out by Willy Boly.
But star man Redmond was soon on target again and substitute Shane Long's strike 19 minutes from time secured three vital points.
Southampton came flying out of the blocks and led after just 94 seconds as Josh Sims cut a low cross back from the right for Redmond, who beat the lumbering Romain Saiss to the ball and prodded high into the net.
The visitors responded well to the early setback and equalised through Boly's towering header following a period of extended pressure, only to quickly fall behind again.
Danny Ings played in Redmond to dink a finish over Rui Patricio and, moments later, the on-loan Liverpool forward similarly teed up Sims, who should have steered his shot on target but fired wide.
Wolves controlled proceedings in the second half but the usually dependable Raul Jimenez hacked their best opening out for a throw-in.
The visitors' frustration was compounded when Southampton went straight down the other end and sealed victory, with Long played onside by Adama Traore as he stabbed past the goalkeeper.
A further goal would have followed, too, had Patricio not instinctively blocked a Maya Yoshida effort.
FULL-TIME Southampton 3-1 Wolves— Premier League (@premierleague) April 13, 2019
A potentially HUGE three points for the Saints - goals from Nathan Redmond (2) and Shane Long seal the win after Willy Boly had equalised for the visitors#SOUWOL #PL pic.twitter.com/pMKnFfd3vu
What does it mean? Saints nearly there
It would take a spectacular turn of events now for Southampton not to be a Premier League club again next season. They look a much better side with Hasenhuttl at the helm and should relish the opportunity to approach a full season with this set-up.
Meanwhile, the theme of Wolves dropping points against the division's strugglers continues. The Molineux outfit must work out how to beat sides like Southampton if they are to continue their stunning ascent.
Ralph's man Redmond
A number of Southampton players have improved under Hasenhuttl and perhaps chief among those is Redmond. Allowed to drift in from the left to provide a goal threat, he has scored eight goals since the manager arrived in December. The sight of Redmond receiving treatment between his two strikes was a concerning one for Saints fans.
Sleeping start from Saiss
Having been blown away late on in the FA Cup semi-final last weekend, Wolves would have been keen to start well this week. But Saiss was caught napping by Redmond mere seconds into the match. He and his defensive colleagues were pulled out of position time and time again by Sims, Ings and Redmond.
Both sides have winnable fixtures next up, with Southampton visiting Newcastle United while Wolves host Brighton and Hove Albion.
Relegated Fulham ended a nine-match losing streak with a surprise 2-0 Premier League win over Everton at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
Playing for the first time since their return to the Championship was confirmed by defeat to Watford on Tuesday, Scott Parker earned his first win as caretaker manager.
FULL-TIME Fulham 2-0 Everton— Premier League (@premierleague) April 13, 2019
A spirited performance from Scott Parker’s Fulham sees the caretaker manager claim his first #PL points, ending Everton’s three-game winning run thanks to goals from Tom Cairney and Ryan Babel #FULEVE #PL pic.twitter.com/n806QEDNCu
After controlling the opening period, captain Tom Cairney's first goal of season just 31 seconds into the second half put Fulham on their way before Ryan Babel sealed victory.
Everton had won three straight games without conceding coming into the game but produced a lacklustre performance.
The lively Aleksandar Mitrovic had two early shots saved by Jordan Pickford and then tested the Everton goalkeeper with a powerful header.
Fulham continued to dominate and Calum Chambers failed to make good contact with an excellent headed chance before Mitrovic curled an effort against the crossbar as half-time approached.
At the other end, Bernard saw an attempt kept out by Sergio Rico with what proved to be the visitors' only shot on target.
Marco Silva ordered his players out to warm-up early during the interval, but that move did not have the desired effect as Fulham got the goal their play deserved almost immediately after half-time, Cairney coolly finding the bottom corner to convert Babel's cut-back from the left.
Both sides had goals disallowed with a Gylfi Sigurdsson tap-in ruled out for Everton after Dominic Calvert-Lewin was ruled to have fouled Rico, before Ryan Sessegnon's strike for the hosts was wiped out for a Mitrovic infringement against Kurt Zouma.
Calvert-Lewin was denied by the post after latching onto Sigurdsson's throughball, a missed chance that proved crucial when Fulham sealed the points 21 minutes from time as Babel raced clear to dink a finish over Pickford, Mitrovic with the assist.