South Africa captain Jean de Villiers scored the crucial try as Western Stormers edged Queensland Reds 20-15 in a tense Super Rugby tussle.
The first points of a dire first half were scored just before the interval, Joe Pietersen booting a penalty for the hosts at windy Newlands.
But four minutes into the second-half the game came alive. Fly-half Elton Jantjies launched the move with a cross-field kick that found left wing Bryan Habana, and he passed inside to Pietersen.
The full-back charged forwards before putting De Villiers scampering over the line on the outside.
Pietersen missed the conversion but he and Reds fly-half Quade Cooper then traded penalties, both men finishing with five apiece.
It was a tense battle of the boot with the Stormers staying ahead until 11 minutes from time when Cooper gave his team a 15-14 advantage.
Pietersen held his nerve to kick two more three-pointers, but the match finished with the Stormers desperately defending their line.
The Reds were awarded a last-minute scrum that had to be reset twice before the Brisbane outfit launched a slow, multi-phase effort to score the converted try that would have brought victory.
They clung on to the ball for fully four minutes but the hosts held firm to take the points.
Victory was a huge relief for the Stormers, who started the season among the title favourites but began Saturday’s match just six points above Southern Kings in a race to avoid a relegation play-off.
The win stretched that gap to 10 points and the Stormers have home advantage over the Port Elizabeth-based Kings next weekend in a potentially decisive fixture for both teams.