Will Nicholls scored twice as Bideford reserves took charge of the North Devon League title race with a 2-1 win over Torridgeside this afternoon.
The Robins moved nine points clear at the top of the premier division with a hard-earned victory at the Sports Ground.
In the battle of the top two, Torridgeside suffered their first defeat of the season after Nicholls drilled the winner from close range with eight minutes to go.
There was little to separate the sides in a high-tempo encounter played in bitterly cold conditions.
Bideford went ahead on 15 minutes when Nathan Bate made a surging run and drilled a shot beyond goalkeeper Lee Cockwill. The ball appeared to be heading over the line anyway but Nicholls, the premier division's top scorer, was on hand to make sure.
The hosts were the stronger side at that stage and when Cockwill saved a header by Sam Grimley, Nicholls had his follow-up effort blocked.
Re-energised for the second half, Torridgeside pulled level when Marc Bettiss pounced at a corner after 63 minutes.
Bettiss then beat the offside trap and shot wide before Bideford regained the advantage with a strong finish.
A ball into the box caused panic in the defence and Nicholls was on hand to grab his 34th goal of the season.
Torridgeside's hopes suffered a further blow when Neil Bettiss, their influential defender, was sent off for a second yellow card.
Substitute Jake England thought he had sealed the win with a third goal in stoppage time but the effort was ruled out for offside.
With six games to play – including a trip to Boca Seniors – Bideford have a nine-point advantage over Torridgeside who have three games in hand but a slightly inferior goal difference.
Boca and North Molton also remain in the title hunt although both sides are hampered by the number of games they must fit in before the end of May.
North Molton showed they are not to be discounted with a comprehensive 6-0 win over Ilfracombe Town yesterday. Tom Marsh scored four and Liam Craze and Marcus Mahoney got the other goals.
Boca return to action on Wednesday with a rearranged fixture against Georgeham and Croyde at Barnstaple Town's Mill Road.