Darius Charles scored twice as Stevenage beat Gillingham to close the gap to safety to two points.
Elliott Hewitt was sent off for handling Francois Zoko's shot and the Stevenage striker scored from the spot for his 14th goal of the season.
Charles met Luke Freeman's cross to put the hosts 2-0 up, before Cody McDonald converted Connor Smith's through ball to reduce the deficit.
A close-range finish from Charles ensured Stevenage a vital victory.
Lucas Akins came close to making it 4-1 but saw his header come back off the crossbar, while McDonald hit the post at the other end.
Stevenage stay bottom of the table on 25 points, but move a point behind 23rd-placed Sheffield United, with Notts County, Shrewsbury and Bristol City,
who lost at home to Coventry,
on 27 points.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Gillingham manager Peter Taylor told BBC Radio Kent:
"I'm very proud of the players for the way they kept going as it was a difficult evening.
"It was a disappointing first goal for us as it wasn't good defending and then you get a man sent off as early as that.
"It was the correct decision by the referee and the wrong decision from Elliott. Elliott should have let it go in as at that early stage if it goes in you have still got 11 men and time to recover."
Stevenage 16 Day 11 Akins 29 Hartley 13 Parrett (Doughty - 63' ) 06 Jones Booked 08 Mousinho (Deacon - 74' ) 15 Freeman 20 Smith 12 Zoko (Andrade - 63' ) 09 Charles Booked 14 Heslop Substitutes 02 Wedgbury 10 Burrow 24 Doughty 25 Andrade 26 Smith 28 N'Guessan 34 Deacon Gillingham 01 Nelson 03 Martin 29 Hewitt Dismissed 15 Dack 05 Davies 06 Legge 12 Gregory Booked 19 Smith Booked 10 McDonald 08 Akinfenwa (Harriman - 45' ) 31 Hessenthaler (Fagan - 72' ) Substitutes 11 Weston 18 Lee 23 Harriman 26 Barrett 27 Fagan 32 Pigott 35 Baxter
Ref: Stuart Attwell