West Bromwich Albion gave their survival hopes a shot in the arm and kept Norwich City firmly in danger with a 1-0 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Morgan Amalfitano scored the crucial goal as West Brom responded positively on a day when fellow strugglers Cardiff were beaten by Crystal Palace.
The Marseille loanee, who put the visitors ahead against Cardiff last week, was on target once more at Carrow Road as he showed quick feet to evade the stumbling Martin Olsson before shooting across John Ruddy into the far corner.
Norwich twice hit the woodwork during the second half but there was to be no late drama, as there was when Albion scored and conceded in stoppage time at The Hawthorns last week, with Mel's men picking up a rare away win in the top flight to keep their opponents looking over their shoulders.
Perhaps showing nerves due to the importance of the fixture, Gareth McAuley almost handed Gary Hooper a shot on goal within 30 seconds, as the former Celtic man nearly beat Ben Foster to a sloppy backpass.
From there, West Brom grew into the game and went close to an opener with strikes from Graham Dorrans and Amalfitano.
Johan Elmander then blazed an effort high and wide from inside the box, after the ball had deflected into his path, prior to Amalfitano scoring for a second week running. Taking full advantage of Olsson's slip, the Frenchman produced a smart finish to beat Ruddy and open the scoring.
Ruddy ensured Matej Vydra did not double West Brom's lead following a quick break, while Norwich were frustrated in their attempts to find an equaliser, Foster making a smart stop to keep out a header from Hooper just after the half-hour mark.
Albion were penned back under plenty of Norwich pressure after the interval but struggled to fashion any clear-cut chances until Hooper crashed an effort off the angle of post and crossbar from an acute angle inside the area.
Robert Snodgrass' free-kick was then tipped onto the bar by Foster but Norwich's pressure failed to bring rewards as they were beaten at home in the top flight for the first time this year.
Norwich City manager Chris Hughton: "We didn't show enough quality, conceded a poor goal and they sat deep. We needed to use the ball better and we were too loose with our passing. It was not a lack of desire or endeavour but there was a lack of quality.
"It was a soft goal to concede and it gave them a lift and put a little bit more pressure on us. We didn't have enough good moments and we have not really made Ben Foster work hard enough.
"We have taken a step backwards and we have to turn it around against Fulham next week. Losing today makes it an even bigger game. It was an opportunity to get a gap between us and the bottom three and we are now fighting for our lives. I can understand the fans' anxiety and frustration; they don't want to see their team in this position."
West Bromich Albion head coach Pepe Mel: "I thought both teams really competed. But today we was very good for us. It was a performance that made us proud.
"I think last week the team played well but only took one point. Today we were away but still picked up all the points."
"We were all together today. It is important that we stay together for the future of the team. This win is for the fans, we are all together, West Brom is a family,"
|26 Apr 2014||v Man Utd (A)|
|04 May 2014||v Chelsea (A)|
|11 May 2014||v Arsenal (H)|
|20 Apr 2014||v Liverpool (H)|
|12 Apr 2014||v Fulham (A)|