Barclays Premier League basement club West Ham gave themselves a much-needed boost with a 3-1 victory over fellow strugglers Wigan at Upton Park.
The match had been billed by the West Ham board as the "save our season game'', although manager Avram Grant maintained that was more aimed at supporters to get behind the team than a shot across his bows.
Nevertheless, there was more than a sense of relief around the Boleyn Ground at the final whistle, with the Irons securing a first win since the end of September following goals from Valon Behrami, Victor Obinna and Scott Parker.
However, the Irons - now within three points of safety, but still bottom after Wolves' late winner against Sunderland - had keeper Robert Green to thank for saving a penalty from substitute Mauro Boselli just after the hour which could have set up a nervous finish, although Tom Cleverley netted a consolation on 85 minutes.
Grant had relegated Carlton Cole to the bench after the England striker had labelled last week's 3-0 defeat at Liverpool as "diabolical'', while Wigan were without suspended duo Hugo Rodallega and Antolin Alcaraz following their red cards against Manchester United.
It was a positive start by the Hammers, as Frederic Piquionne looked lively at the head of the attack.
However, Wigan came into the game and winger Mohamed Diame dashed to the far touchline. He pulled the ball, which looked to have gone out of play, back for on-loan United youngster Cleverley to test Green with a low effort from 20 yards.
The home side were under pressure again when a low cross from Ronnie Stam had to be hacked clear in the six-yard box by James Tomkins.
There was more than a sense of frustration beginning to grow inside Upton Park as the half-hour mark passed and the Irons again were unable to make any real progress in the final third.
The Boleyn Ground, however, erupted in relief on 34 minutes when Behrami bundled in a knockdown from Piquionne after Lars Jacobsen's high ball into the Wigan box.
Junior Stanislas, back in the side after a groin injury, sent a snap-shot goalwards from 20 yards and Ali Al Habsi had to be alert to tip the ball over.
From the corner, the Wigan keeper then produced a brilliant reaction save to parry away Piquionne's bullet header.
West Ham should have been 2-0 up at the start of the second half when Piquionne found himself unmarked on the penalty spot but dragged the ball wide.
After both Pablo Barrera and Obinna dragged shots wide, the Hammers had a two-goal cushion on 56 minutes.
Piquionne carried the ball into the left side of the Wigan penalty area before cutting it back to Obinna. The on-loan Inter Milan forward promptly drilled a low strike into the bottom corner for his first Premier League goal.
Wigan responded by making a double change as Franco Di Santo and Jordi Gomez were replaced by Boselli and Victor Moses after 61 minutes.
The visitors then were awarded a penalty when Danny Gabbidon tripped Cleverley. Boselli stepped up to take the spot-kick with what was his first touch - but Green guessed right to make a fine save.
West Ham broke and felt they should have been given a penalty when Gohouri looked to have tripped Piquionne, but this time referee Mark Halsey waved play on.
Despite their lead, West Ham continued to look less than comfortable.
However, the points were secured with 15 minutes left when Obinna broke down the left and Parker arrived in the six-yard box to crash the ball past Al Habsi.
Piquionne was replaced by Cole for the closing stages, while Parker was given a standing ovation when he went off with seven minutes left.
Cleverley netted a consolation with a dipping drive on 85 minutes.
In stoppage time, Behrami fell to the ground after slipping and looked to have injured his groin and Wigan had a close-range effort from Gohouri ruled out for offside as finally it was West Ham's day.
Avram Grant hopes this afternoon's 3-1 victory over fellow strugglers Wigan is
the start of better things to come for West Ham.
"It was a good win and a convincing victory, I am happy for us and hope it is only the beginning,'' Grant said. "We played like we have all of the other games, but were more efficient today.
"We won, this is the difference and this is the name of the game. We started a bit nervous, which you can understand from our position in the league and the last game at Liverpool.
"But the players always tried to do the right thing, were fighting and they have responded. We are trying to build a good mentality, which is important.''
Grant insisted still being bottom was not a concern. "We have played only 15 games, so at the moment it does not really matter if Wolves win or the others do - we need to do our job,'' he said.
"When you come to the last few games, it is important, but now the teams who are in the top 10 can be in the bottom. We are only nine points from the middle. That is something you can close, especially when you have 20 more games to go.''
The match had been billed by the West Ham board as the "save our season
game'', although manager Grant maintained that was more aimed at supporters to
get behind the team than a shot across his bow.
"It was a marketing thing, and I always say to them you can do anything you want, as long as you don't come in my area,'' he quipped. "Maybe because of them the supporters were very good today.''
Parker played despite suffering the effects of a chest infection and Grant hailed the all-action midfielder. "Scott was great. He has all the good old fashioned character about the English game,'' Grant said.
"He always gives it 100%, he was sick but came in and wanted to push to play, and scored a fantastic goal. He did unbelievable things today and is the modern midfield player - wins balls, blocks shots, scoring goals, giving assists. What more can you say?''
Latics boss Martinez felt his men did not do themselves justice: "We conceded three very cheap goals for our standards, and that is something we will work on,'' he said. "We had a few players missing, but that is not an excuse. You got the feeling
nothing was going our way.
"There was a good opportunity to get back into the game with the penalty, and then even at the end we got a good goal ruled out. It is quite clear to me the things we need to work on, but I was pleased with the reaction towards the end.
"It was a day of a real test of character, and that was there, but in football you cannot concede cheap goals, otherwise you are making things very difficult. We just weren't ourselves today, and that is where the work is going to be.''