Ryan Leonard's second-minute stunner sealed Sky Bet Championship play-off hopefuls Millwall a narrow victory at beleaguered Hull.
Grant McCann's Tigers have endured a torrid 2020, with a play-off push replaced by a relegation battle after star men Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki were allowed to leave in January.
Hull have managed just one win since New Year's Day and on Saturday they failed to capitalise on their relegation rivals' poor results, with Leonard's 30-yard strike just 75 seconds into proceedings sealing a 1-0 win for Millwall.
While the Tigers missed the chance to move out of the relegation zone, victory was a welcome shot in the arm for Gary Rowett's men after their midweek home loss to struggling Middlesbrough.
The Lions were more impressive and disciplined than the hosts as they bounced back impressively on Saturday, with Leonard's early long-ranger enough to seal victory.
An open, chance-laden first half was replaced by a desperate second period at the KCOM Stadium, where McCann's men failed to find an equaliser to leave them with just three games to halt their slide into League One.
Play got off to a lightning start in East Yorkshire, where - not for the first time - City were punished for a meek start.
Leonard was a long way out but was afforded too much time and space to shape up a 30-yard strike that whistled into the top right-hand corner - a spectacular effort that George Long could have done little about.
Tom Bradshaw scooped over and Billy Mitchell wasted a glorious chance to extend the emboldened Lions' lead, although Bartosz Bialkowski spread himself well to thwart Josh Bowler when Hull broke.
Millwall were dictating play but again had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping them ahead in the 20th minute as Mallik Wilks threatened to capitalise on a defensive gaffe with a drilled strike.
Hull captain Jordy de Wijs saw a header cleared off the line by Lions counterpart Alex Pearce as the home side upped the ante, only for the drinks break to disrupt their flow.
Millwall ended the half on top as Shaun Hutchinson went agonisingly close and Jake Cooper lifted the ball onto the roof of the net, with Long producing a superb save to deny Leonard on the stroke of half-time.
Bradshaw lifted over the bar soon after the restart, but Hull's half-time tweak worked early on and Wilks got a shot on Bialkowski's goal shortly after seeing penalty appeals ignored.
Hutchinson had a chance at the other end and Kevin Stewart was replaced shortly after escaping a second booking for a hefty challenge on Leonard, with both sides turning to their bench in a bid to get the result they required.
Substitute Josh Magennis was called offside when forcing Bialkowski into action and Millwall were disciplined in defence as Hull's desperation increased.
Keane Lewis-Potter scuffed a late chance at the end of game where the hosts were too ponderous and predictable.
What the managers said...
Hull's Grant McCann: "It's a disappointing goal to concede so early in the game We've made a real habit of that obviously in the last six games, conceding first in five of them, and that's obviously a concern for us. The first half, there's no point in me pussyfooting about, wasn't good enough from all of us, really.
"The second half we were better. We huffed and puffed a little bit, but the whole day we were disappointing. But the beauty of this game and the beauty that we all know now is that we've got three games to go now. We know what we need to do to stay into this division. It's very, very clear for all to see and we need to try and react at Wigan."
Millwall's Gary Rowett: "We're seeing at this stage, and we've found it in a couple of games, that it's really difficult to win games at this stage because everyone's nervous. Everyone all over the league is fighting for their lives, so people are starting to get desperate and it's been tough.
"Obviously we're at a point where you've got to win games to stay in the mix because other teams are going to. Listen, it makes it exciting. I think the team deserve an awful lot of credit, where they've come to even be in the conversation."