Fylde were dealt a cruel blow at Plainmoor, where Matt Buse’s header in the third minute of stoppage time won the game for the Gulls.
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The visitors had looked the more likely winners after Jordan Williams' equaliser but instead suffered a third National League defeat in eight days.
The Coasters made four changes to the side beaten by Barnet in midweek, including a recall for full-back Luke Burke after seven weeks out of favour. James Craigen, Alex Whitmore and Mark Yeates also returned.
However, it was the Gulls who struck first in spectacular fashion after only eight minutes.
A free-kick into the box was cleared only as far as Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala, who caught the ball sweetly on the volley and thundered his shot home from 20 yards.
Fylde looked for a quick response as Williams’ long throw into the box caused all sorts of problems but Dan Bradley couldn’t poke the ball home.
The Coasters grew in confidence and almost had an equaliser on 20 minutes, when Whitmore's header from a Yeates corner bounced back off a post.
Fylde were playing with more fluency but suffered a setback on the half-hour, when Scott Duxbury withdrew with a groin injury and was replaced by Kyle Jameson.
Torquay looked dangerous on each flank through Jake Andrews and Lumbombo-Kalala but Fylde were on top, Danny Rowe firing a couple of long-range efforts just wide.
Williams had the ball in the net following a corner but the referee had blown for a Torquay free-kick and the hosts held their lead until half-time.
Fylde started the second half strongly as Rowe went close from a corner and Craigen shot straight at onrushing keeper Lucas Cavagnari, having been picked out by Yeates' precise through-ball.
The momentum was with the Coasters and they were level on 52 minutes, with a helping hand from the Torquay's Liam Davis.
The full-back looked to head back to his keeper but inadvertently nodded the ball into the path of Williams.
Williams kept his cool in the box, taking a touch and rounding the keeper before slotting his fifth of the season into an open goal, giving Fylde hope of a first away win since the opening day at Aldershot Town.
The Coasters were in the driving seat and looked the more likely winners, Jameson having a chance after his driving run into the box.
Perhaps Fylde's best chance of a second came when Neill Byrne's flick found Rowe in the box, but the striker fired a half-volley over the bar when other options looked promising.
Fylde couldn't score again and after four minutes of added time were announced Torquay mounted a final attack.
A cross from the right picked out Buse, who was strong enough to win the header and guide the ball past Dan Lavercombe.
This was a harsh defeat for the Coasters after a performance of real promise, though they have taken just one point from their last six away games and slipped to 19th, one point above the bottom four.
There are chances to make amends with two home games in the coming days, starting against third-bottom Chesterfield on Tuesday.
Manager Dave Challinor said: "We showed some edginess early on, diving into tackles we probably shouldn’t have and picking up silly bookings.
"But after that second half I’d have been disappointed with a point and somehow we’ve ended up with none.
"We should have gone on and won the game, and the most disappointing thing is being undone from a series of mistakes, cheap fouls.
"I don’t think many people here would disagree that we’ve done more than enough to win the game."
Fylde: Lavercombe, Duxbury (Jameson 32), Byrne, Whitmore, Burke (Forbes 77), Craigen, Croasdale, Bradley, Yeates (Haughton 82), Williams, Rowe; subs not used: Montgomery, Philliskirk
Torquay: Cavagnari, Wynter, Davis, Cameron, Andrews, Vincent (Little 55), Buse, Reid, Lumbombo-Kalala (Lewis 90), Cundy, Whitfield; subs not used: MacDonald, Koue Niate, Duku
Referee: Sam Allison