For the visit of the league leaders, Moors boss Jimmy Shan made two changes to the team that earned a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Weymouth last time out.
With defender Tyrone Williams missing, Shan recalled Alex Gudger to the team, the defender having been rested for Saturday's stalemate.
The other switch saw striker Kyle Hudlin drop to the bench as Joe Sbarra came back into the starting line up.
Ben Usher-Shipway was named amongst the substitutes, the full-back in the squad for the first time since his loan spell at Rushall Olympic earlier in the season.
Minute by Minute Match Report
After nearly two months without a home game, Moors welcomed top of the table Torquay United to the SportNation.bet Stadium on Tuesday night.
It was the visitors who had the first sight at goal as Gulls skipper Asa Hall flashed a header wide of the near post in the opening few minutes.
Reinstated to the team, Sbarra wasted no time in settling into the game, picking up pockets of space in front of the visiting back four.
And it was Sbarra who picked an inch-perfect through ball to release Callum Maycock, the midfielder slipped it off to Adam Rooney but he dragged his low shot just wide of the post.
The roles where then reversed as Rooney teed up Maycock but he too was just off target, lifting his shot over the bar.
But just as Moors were playing their way into the game, a penalty was awarded to the Gulls, as Howkins was deemed to have handled.
Howkins had his arms behind his back as the cross came in, but the referee judged it to be intentional and Hall stepped up to the spot to send Ryan Boot the wrong way.
A blow for Moors who had started well, and who were almost back on level terms soon after, Sbarra’s shot whistled past the keeper but unfortunately, also past the post.
It would have been a fitting end to a fine flowing move orchestrated by captain Kyle Storer and Cameron Coxe linking up well on the edge of the area.
In the opposing area, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans turned Howkins neatly but the defender recovered well and Shan’s side cleared.
It was end to end. Next, Moors’ Gudger sprayed a ball out wide to pick out Jordan Cranston, he found Sbarra but the touch was heavy and the chance lost.
Torquay then came close to doubling their lead but fortunately for Moors, Billy Waters was turned his shot wide following a cross from Adam Randell.
Then in first-half stoppage time, a half-chance for Moors. Stephen Gleeson’s scuffed shot was going wide, Maycock did well to direct it goalwards but couldn’t put it on target.
Unable to find the breakthrough but Moors had more than matched the Gulls and would have felt aggrieved by the penalty decision that had them trailing at half-time.
HT: Solihull Moors 0-1 Torquay United
Striker Kyle Hudlin replaced Gleeson at half-time as Shan looked for a greater attacking emphasis from his team.
And Hudlin’s arrival appeared to galvanise Moors, the hosts looking lively at the start of the second half, with both wing-backs attacking the penalty area with plenty of purpose.
But Torquay’s defence remained solid, blocking any attempts at goal and batting away the aerial threat provided by the recently introduced Hudlin.
All the play was in Moors’ attacking third though, an equaliser only looked a matter of time but then, completely against the run of the play, the Gulls struck.
A quick counter saw Lemonheigh-Evans release Waters, the striker cut inside to tuck the ball beyond Boot and into the far corner of the net.
It was a real sucker punch for Shan’s men who had begun the half with a real impetus but now with half-an-hour remaining, they had a mountain to climb.
Coxe then made way for Ben Usher-Shipway and the substitute nearly made an instant impact, finding the head of Hudlin but the striker’s downward header drifted wide.
Moors were battling away, trying everything to get back into the game, Sbarra’s shot curled towards the top corner but Gulls keeper Shaun MacDonald was equal to it.
The hosts did have MacDonald beat late on but not the crossbar, as substitute Justin Donawa’s improvised flick came back of the woodwork.
Donawa who had been lively since his introduction, then found MacDonald’s legs block his route to goal before the keeper did well to claw away a dangerous Cranston corner.
Then, came late drama. A Howkins long ball had Hudlin running through but he found his path to goal abruptly ended by MacDonald rushing out and upending the striker.
A pause in play followed. Keeper MacDonald received a second bookable for his troubles so manager Gary Johnson had to call on substitute keeper James Hamon.
Hamon was soon picking the ball out of the net after Usher-Shipway’s throw-in was flicked on by Howkins and Gudger stabbed home from close range.
The proverbial kitchen sink was then thrown at the 10 men Gulls but Moors were unable to find an equaliser and Torquay hung on to claim all three points.
FT: Solihull Moors 1-2 Torquay United