A Kamil Zayatte own goal two minutes from time gave Aston Villa a 1-0 win at Hull City on Tuesday and lifted them to fourth place in the Premier League.
Guinea defender Zayatte spectacularly volleyed an Ashley Young cross past his own keeper Boaz Myhill to hand Villa a win that sees them end the year in a Champions League place.
Villa are level on 38 points with third-placed Manchester United, who have two games in hand, and are seven adrift of leaders Liverpool with Chelsea in second place on 42.
Neither side managed to create a clear chance for most of the match with Hull's defence, which had conceded nine goals in their previous two matches, nullifying Villa's pacy attack.
But the game sprang to life in the dying minutes with Zayatte's own goal followed by a penalty claim from Hull for a handball by Ashley Young on the line, although television replays showed that the ball had cleanly hit the bar.
Referee Steve Bennett initially gave the penalty only to change his mind after consulting his linesman.
"I'm absolutely delighted the right decision has been made and pleased that we have won, because we did not play well tonight," Villa manager Martin O'Neill told Sky Sports.
Hull manager Phil Brown added: "The referee got it wrong because he gave the penalty... for some reason his mind has been changed."
Villa are unbeaten in seven league matches, having fought back to draw 2-2 last Friday at home to an Arsenal side who have slipped back to fifth spot on 35 points.
Hull have won just once in their last 11 league games and remain eighth on 27 points behind Wigan Athletic (28).
Villa host strugglers West Bromwich Albion in a Birmingham derby on Saturday when Hull travel to sixth-placed Everton.