Forfar manager Gary Bollan tore a strip off his side at full-time after watching them crash to defeat in this Angus derby at Montrose.
It was small consolation to the frustrated gaffer when he learned that Arbroath had lost to a late goal at home to Edinburgh City and his side remained top of League Two.
“I am fed up hearing that it is still in our own hands,” said Bollan.
“We shot ourselves in the foot. Grant Adam made a Horlicks of his clearance and we conceded a goal.
“It was wave after wave of attacks for us in the second half. The fact that we lost an early goal and couldn’t get it back was very disappointing.
“In the opening minutes we were the better side, but it was a fantastic finish for their goal.
“We have got to cut out the mistakes and try to get over the line.
“The fact that Arbroath lost makes it even harder to take that we took nothing from this game.”
Montrose boss Stewart Petrie saw the win take his side to within a point of fourth-placed Elgin City and acknowledged that a play-off place is a possibility.
“I have not been speaking about the play-offs, but we can’t hide it any more.
“Our target remains to take as many points as we can, but with three games to go we are in with a shout. We have a great record against Forfar (two wins and two draws from the four games this season).
“They had a lot of pressure in the second half with wind-assisted corners and long throw-ins, but we held firm.
“We should have been well in front in the first half. We played really well and got the ball down and passed it. Matty Smith has electric pace. He missed a couple of chances but kept plugging away.”
Montrose lost centre-half Michael Bolochoweckyj after two minutes with what could prove a serious injury and, while they were down to 10 men, David Cox fired a hook shot over for Forfar.
Montrose took the lead on seven minutes. Adam made a hash of kicking clear a passback and Chris Templeman found the net against his former side with a controlled finish from 30 yards.
It might have been 2-0 two minutes later. Smith raced clear after a mistake by Eddie Malone but put the ball wide.
The home pressure continued and Smith headed over from a Gary Fraser cross, then Templeman had a diving header saved.
On 28 minutes, Graham Webster had a shot saved by Adam, then Paul Watson forced a diving stop from the keeper.
Forfar made the running at the start of the second half. Danny Denholm missed a good chance when he shot over, then Jim Lister headed over.
On 70 minutes Andrew Munro had a header tipped over by Allan Fleming.
Montrose could have sealed the points on 77 minutes when Smith ran clear but Adam turned the ball around the post.
Forfar almost grabbed an equaliser three minutes from time. Lewis Milne was just on as a substitute when he had a drive tipped over by Fleming.