It was a game of two halves at bitter-cold Brewster Park, where Fermanagh defeated Derry by 1-16 to 3-8.
Twice ahead by twelve points, Rory Gallagher's men just about clung on in the end for the win that sees them move clear at the top of the third division table overnight at least, with four wins from four.
The hosts reeled off 1-8 without reply in the opening 15 minutes and a return of 1-6 from Seamus Quigley in the opening period handed them a commanding 1-12 to 1-3 interval advantage. The goal was a throwback to days of yore - a fantastic fetch and finish. Emmett Bradley fired Derry's first goal after half an hour's play.
A Quigley brace stretched the gap after the restart but two goals in a minute from Mark Lynch and James Kielt had the visitors suddenly back in the game, 1-14 to 3-3, just five in it…
Corner back Cian McManus steadied the home team and Paul McCusker cancelled out a Kielt free before Patrick Cadden crucially denied Kielt a third Derry goal.
The hosts didn't score in the last 20 minutes but unanswered points from Enda Lynn, Kielt (2) and Padraig McGrogan weren't enough for Damien McErlain's battling troops.
Fermanagh - P Cadden; M Jones, C Cullen, C McManus (0-1); B Mulrone, A Breen (0-1), D McCusker (0-1); E Donnelly (0-1), R Jones (0-1); P McCusker (0-1), C Corrigan (0-1), C McGee; D Teague, C Jones (0-1), Seamus Quigley (1-8, 0-7f). Subs: R Corrigan for D Teague (BC), L Cullen for C McGee, R McCluskey for P McCusker, T Corrigan for Seamus Quigley, Sean Quigley for C Jones.
Derry - B McKinless; M McEvoy, K Johnston, J Curran; M Bateson, C Williams, C Doherty; C McAtamney, E Bradley (1-1f); P McGrogan (0-2), E Lynn, J Kielt (1-3); M Lynch (1-2, 0-2f), T O'Brien, N Toner. Subs: D Tallon for E Bradley, C McCluskey for J Curran, B Heron for C Doherty, P Hagan for M Bateson.
Referee: P Hughes.