Brighton boss Gus Poyet admitted he was made to sweat before watching side side hold out to secure victory at Millwall which sent them top of the Championship.
A goal in each half from Ashley Barnes and Adam El-Abd was enough to sink Millwall and secure a fifth straight win for Poyet's slick side.
However, they were indebted to a stunning late save from former Manchester United keeper Tomasz Kuszczak to secure victory after 10-man Millwall threatened an unlikely comeback.
Chris Wood pulled one back on his full debut and the on-loan West Brom striker almost made himself an instant hero in stoppage time only to be denied by Kuszczak.
"It's very nice to be top," admitted Poyet.
"But when you start in this league you know how difficult every game is, you need to be on the bench watching that last 20 minutes, with my team defending like mad, to know how much you have to suffer to get three points.
"Something happened for the first time to us. We were controlling the game at 11 v 11 and then when it was 11 v 10, we lost it.
"We are supposed to know how to play against 10 men and we didn't do it today.
"The last 20 minutes was unbelievable, the pressure they put us under. So it was a great three points."
The Lions had winger Chris Taylor sent off and a third straight defeat left them in the bottom three.
Manager Kenny Jackett said: "I was disappointed with the goals against us, we gave ourselves mountain to climb.
"Ultimately it was a mountain we nearly did climb with a lot of pressure and that late chance, but against a good side we can't be conceding that many goals.
"But I look at the table every day - and anyone who tells you they don't is lying."