Horndean battled from two sets down to defeat Arun-VC 3-2 in a highly-competitive National League division two south encounter at Westergate Community School.
The Deans had to conjure up all the tricks in the book to keep their survival hopes alive with a hard-fought win after two hours 10 minutes of explosive action.
Not only did the win see Horndean climb off the foot of the table, it also helped them avenge a 3-1 loss to their opponents in December.
The Deans are now two points ahead of Arun.
Player-coach Nasser Ssemuwemba was delighted with the vital win.
He said: ‘We had a wobbly start but we somehow found our fighting spirit.
‘We put them under so much pressure they eventually cracked.
‘I think they were shocked by our recovery in the third set.
‘It will be an achievement if we can manage to beat the drop considering how the club has struggled this season.
‘I know this win only means hat its probably half the job done but it gives us some confidence ahead of our two remaining crucial games.
‘It is imperative we win those matches to give ourselves the best chance of survival.’
Arun put up a dominating display in the first two sets of the match – with a combination of well-angled attacks in both the middle and back court.
Although the visitors managed to string a few successful plays together, they were not clinical enough to stop the hosts winning 25-21 and 25-23 respectively.
Drama then unfolded in the latter stages of the third set.
At 23-18, Arun only needed two points for a clean sweep.
But then the Deans mounted a spirited comeback that started with a flurry of floating serves from skipper Festus Nfor.
Mark Byerley and Willard-Hans Shongue tightened the blocks on Arun’s front players to seal the set 26-24.
Man-of-the-match Damian Roberts and Ssemuwemba then joined the fray with powerful outside attacks to win the fourth set 27-25.
A steady showing from libero Benoit Royer and good distribution by setter Matt Jackson then earned a 15-13 win in the decider.
Horndean host Malory at Priory School on Saturday (12.30pm).