Exeter City fell to their seventh home defeat of the season as a first-half penalty from Torquay United's Rene Howe settled Monday's Devon derby at St James's Park.
City manager Paul Tisdale named a strong line-up for the match recalling Alan Gow, Matt Oakley and Jimmy Keohane to the starting line-up.
However, leading scorer Jamie Cureton, had to be content with a place on the bench having served his three-game ban for getting sent off against Wycombe Wanderers on New Year's Day.
It was Torquay United who started the better of the two teams, with Lee Mansell sending a header from a John Oastler cross towards he bottom corner - forcing Artur Krysiak into a smart save.
However, Krysiak was helpless to stop Howe's 12th minute penalty after former Gulls defender Steve Tully had clipped Billy Bodin's heels in the penalty box.
Exeter City had a couple of chances to draw level before the break, but Jimmy Keohane saw one close range effort blocked before blasting another effort narrowly wide.
Mindful that they had let a 1-0 lead slip when these two sides met earlier this month, Torquay set about wrapping up the game early in the second half. However, Howe blasted into the side netting when well placed and then City started to get on top of the match once more.
The introduction of Cureton and Guillem Bauza of the bench gave them a renewed focus up front and when Ryan Jarvis sent a Tully cross arrowing towards his own goal Michael Poke had to be alert to scramble across his goal and save.A succession of second half corners followed, but both Bauza and Coles had close-range efforts blocked.
Playing in his 700th Football League game Cureton also went close with a couple of half chances late on, but in the end Torquay managed to do what they failed to 13 days ago and hung on to a 1-0 lead against City.