On a night when Montpellier dominated for long spells, Hilton's header wide from close range was a sign of things to come for the frustrated visitors.
© Getty Images
Kevin Berigaud followed Hilton's example midway through the fist half by heading wide from a Siaka Tiene cross, before Johny Placide kept the scores level with a fine save to keep out Jonas Martin's long-range strike.
Antoine Devaux threatened to hand Reims the lead against the run of play before the break, but his curled effort drifted just past the post.
Stubborn defensive play from Reims was the key factor behind the final result, as Montpellier's lack of a clinical edge in the final third carried into the second half.
Berigaud came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock, but his strike at the end of a solo run was tipped over by Placide.
As the match looked to be heading to a stalemate, Reims struck the crucial blow, with Franck Signorino providing the cross for Moukandjo, who secured the win with an emphatic finish in the final minute.