Barnstaple came from behind with 14 men to beat bottom side Old Patesians 22-20 at Pottington Road.
When Pats were 20-5 up early in the second half – Ryan Carter the lone try scorer for second-placed Barum – an upset looked to be on the cards.
Ben Hilton and Matt Gohl scored a try each to narrow the gap, the latter converted by Jake Murphy to leave three points in it.
Then Gohl got himself sent off for throwing a retaliatory punch, leaving Barum with everything to do and 13 minutes to do it in.
Gohl was the fifth and final player to be carded in the game, but the only player to see red.
Seven minutes from time Danny Southworth burrowed over for what proved to be Barnstaple’s winning try.
Winston James, the Barum captain, said the momentum had changed before Gohl was sent off and the team were able to maintain it despite being one short.
“In the first half we were a bit down and out at times and started moaning at each other, which is never good,” said James.
“Once we stopped moaning and started playing proper rugby in the second half we got back in the match.”
Barnstaple are at home to South West Premier leaders Bournemouth this Saturday.
Gohl is likely to be serving an automatic one-match suspension, unless discipline chiefs decide his previous record and the offence warrant a longer ban.
Fellow forward Matt Hague picked up an injury against Old Pats and is 50-50 to play this Saturday.