Callum Wilson’s 22nd goal of the season edged Bournemouth closer to the Premier League after a tense win at Reading.
Wilson tapped home from close range after Andrew Surman’s initial shot had bounced back off the post.
Bournemouth needed a stunning one-handed save by Artur Boruc from Jamie Mackie’s volley to help seal a vital three points.
The Cherries have a one-point lead and superior goal difference at the top of the Championship with three games left.
Norwich stay second, although Watford can join them on 82 points if they beat Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.
Middlesbrough also have not given up the chase for automatic promotion, with their victory over Wolves moving them to 81 points.
The race for the top flight remains extraordinarily tight and although victory confirmed a place in the play-offs at the very least for Bournemouth, manager Eddie Howe’s side have their sights set on the league title.