Michael de Leeuw's second-half double helped De Graafschap scramble off the bottom of the Eredivisie table.
Meanwhile, in the evening's other games Vitesse Arnhem boosted their hopes of making the qualifying play-offs spots for the Europa League.
And ADO Den Haag secured a comfortable home win to move clear of the drop zone.
De Graafschap produced a convincing 3-0 win over Utrecht at the Stadion De Vijverberg.
Heading into the game on the back of six straight league losses, the hosts secured the points that lifted them above Excelsior in the automatic relegation position, and into the play-off places.
De Graafschap's opener arrived in the 22nd minute when the busy Jan Paul Saeijs crossed from the left and an error from Utrecht goalkeeper Erik Cummins allowed Rydell Poepon to fire home the rebound from close range.
The hosts went further ahead in the 62nd minute when de Leeuw headed his first from a Gil Vermouth corner, and they wrapped up their excellent win two minutes from time when Rydell Poepon fed de Leeuw to stroke home into the far corner.
Vitesse Arnhem consolidated their bid for a place in the end-of-season Europa League qualifying play-offs with a comfortable 3-1 win at relegation-threatened VVV-Venlo at Stadion De Koel.
Alexander Buttner and Wilfried Bony gave the visitors a comfortable half-time advantage and although Yannick Wildschut reduced the deficit early in the second half, Nicky Hofs completed victory in added time.
The result means Ton Lokhoff's VVV remain stranded in the relegation play-off zone.
ADO Den Haag moved seven points clear of the relegation zone with a 3-0 win over Groningen at the Stadion Het Zuiderpark.
Charlton Vicento opened the scoring on 38 minutes as Christian Supusepa supplied a cross from the left and Vicento climbed above his marker Tim Sparv and goalkeeper Luciano to head into the empty net.
Nigerian defender Kenneth Omeruo doubled the advantage just before the hour mark heading home Tjaronn Chery's corner.
And Poland international Ebi Smolarek completed a superb evening for the home side 11 minutes from time reacting quicker to the ball than goalkeeper Luciano to slide the ball under him and seal a comprehensive win.