Cheltenham Town beat Leyton Orient 1-0 at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium thanks to Conor Thomas’ third goal of the season from the penalty spot.
Michael Duff’s side now lead the League Two table by a point with six league games left to play.
Despite only winning half of the last eight League Two games, the Robins have now won five of their last six at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Orient travelled to Gloucestershire in a rich vein of form having remained unbeaten in their last seven League Two games. With four straight wins in that time, the O’s narrowed the gap between themselves and the play-offs to four points having been 12 points out only five weeks ago.
With three clean sheets kept in their last three away league trips, Cheltenham were presented with an early opportunity that the away side hadn’t given away in recent weeks. As Thomas picked up a loose ball 20 yards from goal, his cross wasn’t dealt with by Jamie Turley before the ball fell at the feet of Andy Williams.
Cheltenham’s joint-top scorer this season struggled to get the ball under his spell before striking wide of Lawrence Vigouroux's goal from eight yards out.
Despite suffering a facial injury in the first half against Tranmere Rovers last week, Thomas was deemed fit enough to start alongside Callum Wright and Liam Sercombe in a three-man midfield.
After 30 minutes passed with little to show for their lion's share of possession, the hosts would eventually force an advantage as Williams helped rectify for his miss inside the first 10 minutes of play. Chasing down the ball sent forward, Williams was fouled by Orient goalkeeper Vigouroux to earn a penalty.
Thomas stepped up to the mark and converted his spot kick with aplomb, by sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and emphatically striking into the bottom right-hand corner.
With Cheltenham’s Josh Griffiths comparatively unworked in the first period, the on-loan West Bromwich Albion shot-stopper was called into early second half action when he made an impressive reflex stop to prevent Conor Wilkinson’s header.
Wilkinson’s effort came either side of two chances for the hosts as Wright and Sercombe both came close to doubling Cheltenham’s advantage in the second period. Both midfielders had their efforts blocked both an Orient defence keen to keep their side in the game.
Though with little in the way of goal scoring opportunities for Orient, the Robins held on for another important three points in pursuit of automatic League Two promotion.
Cheltenham Town will now travel to The People's Pension Stadium on Saturday to play Crawley Town (kick-off 15:00).
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): J Griffiths (GK); S Long, B Tozer, C Raglan; M Blair, C Hussey, C Wright (F Azaz '81), C Thomas, L Sercombe; A May (G Lloyd '88), A Williams (S Smith ’67).
Subs not used: S Flinders (GK), L Freestone, E Chapman, I Vassilev.
LEYTON ORIENT (4-2-3-1): L Vigouroux (GK); S Ling, J Turley, D Happe, J Widdowson (T Abrahams ’55); C Clay, H Kyprianou; C Wilkinson, D Kemp, J Brophy; D Johnson.
Subs not used: S Sergeant (GK), J Coulson, L Dennis, O Akinola, N Freeman, J McAnuff.
Referee: Thomas Bramall
Assistants: Daniel Flynn, Thomas Harty. Fourth Official: Alistair Nelson.