Hartlepool United 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 2
But a game that was designed to pay tribute to Hartlepool player Michael Maidens - who died in a car crash last weekend - ended on a sour note when players from both sides squared up to each as they made for the tunnel after the final whistle.
There had also been a scuffle at the end of the first half just minutes after Hartlepool were reduced to ten men when Willie Boland was sent off for a kick on Dean Cox.
Brighton had gone ahead on 14 minutes when Cox's cross from the right was headed into his own net by home defender Ben Clark, under no pressure as he tried to clear in front of goal.
But the ten men turned the game around in the second half and spent most of the time camped in the Brighton half, although the Seagulls were always a danger on the break.
Hartlepool appeared to be running out of time when they were thrown a penalty lifeline four minutes from the end when a piledriver from Andy Monkhouse was blocked by Tommy Elphick, but referee Jon Moss decided it hit his arm and awarded a spot-kick which Richard Barker tucked away.
The home team were chasing a winner now, but as the game headed for the last of four minutes of added time, Brighton broke and Savage squeezed between two defenders on the left before hammering a low shot through two sets of legs and into the far corner.
The final whistle was greeted by mayhem as players squared up to each other.
Referee Jon Moss stayed out of the way as security men shepherded the teams off the pitch.