JOE McCracken was the two-goal hero as WIVENHOE TOWN secured a precious 3-2 victory at fellow strugglers FC CLACTON.
Billy Latto was also on target in the Thurlow Nunn League derby, with Sam Cripps and Lee Clowsley netting for the Seasiders.
Both sides started in the premier division’s bottom three but Wivenhoe are now eight points better off than their north Essex neighbours.
In fact, the Seasiders have now slipped back to the foot of the table as previous basement boys Swaffham Town won 2-0 at home to Walsham-le-Willows.
Kieron Shelley’s side face a fight to avoid the wooden spoon position while Wivenhoe will now be looking to reel in fourth-from-bottom Hadleigh United, who lost 2-1 at Long Melford.
They also have the bonus of a game in hand on the Suffolk side.
In theory, the bottom three will face relegation although there is the possibility of a reprieve, when the league constitution for next season is confirmed.
Wivenhoe came from behind to win at the Rush Green Bowl on Monday afternoon.
Sam Cripps steered the hosts in front from close range, after Kevin Coyle’s free-kick was turned into the danger zone by Harvey Cowler.
However, the Dragons levelled with a spectacular volley from right-back Latto.
His effort flew across the goal and inside the left-hand post, from 25 yards.
Wivenhoe capitalised on a defensive slip at the start of the second half, with McCradden pouncing.
The striker then doubled his tally and gave his side breathing space with a headed goal from substitute Jack Tyrer’s cross.
Clacton threw themselves a lifeline when Clowsley nodded home Cowler’s cross at the far post but it proved too little, too late for the Seasiders.
Both sides had earlier hit the woodwork.
Wivenhoe’s Jamie Baker was desperately unlucky to see his lobbed effort bounce back off the bar, while Cripps headed against the top of the right-hand post for Clacton.
Elsewhere in the premier division, STANWAY ROVERS pulled off a 2-1 victory at Kirkley and Pakefield.
COGGESHALL TOWN secured promotion and kept the pressure on the top two in division one with a 4-0 thrashing of Wisbech St Mary.
The West Street side are now guaranteed a top-three spot and will be playing premier division football next season as two goals from Darren Mills, in addition to strikes from Henri Okosi and Nnamdi Nwachuku, helped secure their victory in Cambridgeshire.
HALSTEAD TOWN won 3-1 at Needham Market Reserves, thanks to two goals for Tom Holdstock and one from Jack Charnock, while HOLLAND FC prevailed 2-1 at Whitton United.
Neither BRANTHAM ATHLETIC, of the premier division, or first division side BRAINTREE TOWN RESERVES had a game on Monday.