Watford captain John Eustace scored the winner after just 43 seconds to keep their faint promotion hopes alive with an npower Championship win over Barnsley.
Eustace hit the only goal in a poor game which leaves Malky Mackay's men five points behind the top six with nine points to play for.
Barnsley turned in a performance typical of a side with nothing to play for and struggled to make any impact throughout.
The Hornets kicked off knowing that they would probably have to win all four of their remaining games to stand a chance of sneaking into the play-offs and their urgency was rewarded as they took the lead in less than a minute.
Don Cowie delivered a corner from the right and after Troy Deeney hit the crossbar with a powerful header, Eustace was on hand to prod in from point blank range.
Watford held out to claim the points and head to Leicester on Monday with their season still alive. However, with games against champions-elect QPR and strugglers Preston to come after that Mackay's side's chances of gatecrashing the top six remain slim.