Tom Varndell proved the hat-trick hero as Bristol overcame the 12th-minute dismissal of Tusi Pisi and finally claimed their first Premiership win of the season with a 28-20 victory over fellow strugglers Worcester Warriors.
Pisi's early red card for a dangerous aerial challenge left Bristol facing an uphill battle in their bid to end a dismal run of 10 successive league defeats.
However, Worcester were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage as former England wing Varndell took his tally of Premiership tries to 89 - one short of the all-time record held by Mark Cueto.
Varndell, who also crossed three times against Pau last week in the European Challenge Cup, had already touched down once when Pisi clattered Jamie Shillcock in the air and the Worcester fly-half landed awkwardly.
Although there appeared to be no malicious intent on the part of Pisi, whose eyes were on the ball, he was red-carded by referee Wayne Barnes for endangering Shillcock, who was unable to continue.
Despite two missed kicks from Jason Woodward, Bristol nevertheless led by five points at the break - Varndell having streaked down the left wing to score again after Darren Barry had touched down for Worcester.
And although Dean Hammond's converted score got the Warriors back within one, Varndell rounded off a fine individual display with his third try after an arcing run from Woodward.