A season of intense effort and little acclaim paid dividends for Stoke City as they secured their Premier League status for another year, and while West Brom reinvigorated their own hopes of avoiding relegation, Hull slipped ever closer to danger.
Meanwhile, Everton secured Europa League football with a draw against Tottenham and Fulham look well placed to join them after moving into seventh with a victory over Aston Villa.
A potentially decisive day at the bottom of the table saw Stoke defeat Hull City 2-1 to move onto 42 points; a superb achievement for Tony Pulis whose achievements have largely gone unrecognized.
Ricardo Fuller (41) and Liam Lawrence (73) secured the victory at The KC Stadium before Andy Dawson struck an injury-time consolation for Hull who, with two wins in 27, are just three points above Middlesbrough, Newcastle and West Brom.
Tony Mowbray's West Brom could have been relegated at the start of the day but a 3-1 victory over Wigan Athletic gives them renewed hope of enjoying another great escape after their heroics in 2005.
Marc-Antoine Fortune (8, 73) and Chris Brunt (59), with his fifth goal in five games, were the key protagonists at The Hawthorns while Wigan's reply came through Hugo Rodallega (17), the Colombian scoring his first goal in English football.
Blackburn Rovers are not mathematically safe but a 2-0 home win over Portsmouth takes them onto 40 points and will be enough to see them play Premier League football next season.
Morten Gamst Pedersen (31) grabbed his first goal of the season and Benni McCarthy (58) scored a penalty before John Utaka produced a horrendous second-half spot-kick for Pompey, who remain seven points clear of safety.
Bolton are level on Blackburn with 40 points following a 0-0 draw with Sunderland, who move onto 36 points, some five ahead of their North East rivals who play on Monday.
Roy Hodgson saw his Fulham side beat Aston Villa 3-1 at home to move two points above West Ham and into seventh, ahead of The Hammers' game against Liverpool later on Saturday.
Danny Murphy (6) opened the scoring with a penalty and while Ashley Young (14) quickly replied, two goals from Diomansy Kamara (46, 60) condemned Villa to another poor result and Martin O'Neill's side have now won one in ten.
Everton secured Europa League qualification with a 0-0 draw with Tottenham, leaving the North Londoners two points behind Fulham with two to play as they look to join The Toffees in Europe next season.