Rene Howe's solitary strike saw off Aldershot and moved Torquay to within a point of the League Two automatic promotion places.
Howe had an early effort ruled out for offside, but was not to be denied as he rounded off a fine team move by sweeping in Eunan O'Kane's cross.
Home keeper Robert Olejnik did well to deny Josh Payne and Guy Madjo.
Kevin Nicholson had one free-kick well saved by Shots keeper Jamie Young and another deflected by Aaron Morris.
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Aldershot manager Dean Holdsworth told BBC Surrey:
"Where we've been ruthless in front of goal, we didn't have that tonight which is a shame because, if we'd knicked one, I think we would have deserved it.
"I don't think there was much between the two sides. We've gone and pushed them to the boundaries, but we didn't have that killer instinct in front of goal.
"There are positives and I'm looking for a response from the players to come in, and I'll see what options we've got."