Despite going ahead, Forfar Athletic lost out to a last minute winner from Bobby Linn as Arbroath took all three points in the second Angus derby of the season.
David Cox put the Loons in front early on but Leighton McIntosh and Linn turned the game round in the Red Lichties’ favour for Forfar’s first league loss in four games.
Jim Weir made three changes following their Scottish Cup exit with Michael Kennedy, Lewis Milne and Scott Lochhead replaced by Patrick Cregg, Conor Quigley and Ousman See.
The opening stages of the game were nothing more than a midfield battle with a few hard challenges going in that were perhaps fortunate not to result in cards being shown.
The first chance of the game came in the ninth minute after Ricky Little barged Eddie Malone over on the edge of the box and received the first caution of the game.
Dylan Easton, Darren Whyte and David Cox stood over the set piece and the former two laid the ball off for Cox to curl past David Hutton to put Forfar ahead.
Arbroath had to clear their lines in the 17th minute when Easton’s ball was flicked on by Matthew Aitken inside the area with Blair Yule clearing the danger.
A minute later Yule had an effort blocked before Malone was next to be booked for a rash challenge on former Loon Danny Denholm. The free kick on the edge of the box saw Ryan McCord hit the bar with Marc McCallum beaten.
McCord curled wide for the hosts but he was involved in their equaliser just after the half hour mark; his corner found Thomas O’Brien and despite his header being cleared off the line McIntosh reacted first to stab home.
Arbroath could have been ahead before half time with another McCord assist but Colin Hamilton couldn’t divert his header on target.
The Loons almost grabbed a second just twenty seconds into the second half when Conor Quigley’s cross hit the bar with Hutton scrambling to try and get a hand to it.
Easton sliced wide from a Cox corner when he should have done better while McCallum denied Yule after David Gold made his way down the right wing before cutting the ball back.
McCord saw his effort held by the Loons keeper with both sides looking to find a winner as the game entered the final twenty minutes.
Forfar were dealt a massive blow in the 71st minute when Cox pulled up attempting to chase a long ball; he tried to run the injury off but had to be substituted in yet another injury problem for Jim Weir.
See was unlucky not to connect with a Bain cross shortly before Hutton had to look sharp to tip another Quigley cross over the bar.
Red Lichties captain Mark Whatley fired wide in the 78th minute meanwhile at the other end Bain and See combined to send the ball into the area with sub Lewis Milne inches away from getting a touch on the cross.
Lochhead should have done better with his shot inside the area as he blasted over; Milne going closer with a long range free kick as his powerful shot forced a save from Hutton.
The Loons have conceded many times in the final five minutes this season and Arbroath added to that list in the 89th minute; a free kick caused problems inside the box and it ended up at the feet of Bobby Linn who lifted the ball over McCallum. Forfar may have felt hard done by with calls for offside from the defence but the officials had ruled Bain to be playing Linn onside.
Forfar were unable to carve out any late chances and leave Gayfield with no points, arguably less than they deserved but they move on to next week’s clash at Airdrieonians.
Arbroath: David Hutton, Ricky Little, Colin Hamilton, Thomas O’Brien, Blair Yule, Mark Whatley, Bobby Linn, Scott Martin (Bryan Prunty 81), Ryan McCord, Leighton McIntosh (Kane Hester 75), Danny Denholm (David Gold 24)
Subs not used: Jamie Henry, Ricky Gomes (gk)
Forfar Athletic: Marc McCallum, Jamie Bain, Conor Quigley, Darren Whyte, Michael Travis, Eddie Malone, Ousman See (Josh Peters 88), Patrick Cregg, David Cox (Scott Lochhead 71), Dylan Easton (Lewis Milne 80), Matthew Aitken
Subs not used: Greg Warwick, Scott McBride, Conner Duthie, Grant Adam (gk)