Ryan Jarvis’s excellent individual goal moved Torquay five points clear of the League Two relegation places after beating York at Plainmoor.
Elliot Benyon opened the scoring when he reacted first from close range after Lee Mansell’s corner was not cleared.
Jarvis then stole the show as he ran 50 yards before blasting in right-footed from 20 yards out.
Richard Cresswell’s penalty set up a nervous finish after Tom Cruise was sent off for a foul on Josh Carson.
The loss leaves York deep in trouble at the bottom of League Two as they occupy the second relegation spot, one point clear of bottom side Aldershot.