Dick Campbell admits his side didn’t reach peak form in the latest Angus derby, but the Arbroath boss was delighted Bobby Linn’s last-gasp winner delivered another three points to keep the Lichties snapping at the heels of Ayr United and Raith Rovers at the top of League One.
This was a feisty encounter with crunching tackles a feature of the opening 25 minutes – which ended with Arbroath losing striker Danny Denholm to injury after two particularly heavy challenges, one of which resulted in a yellow card for Forfar’s Eddie Malone.
By that stage the visitors were ahead courtesy of David Cox’s expertly converted ninth-minute free-kick from the edge of the box which whistled into the top of the net.
The Lichties responded strongly and Ryan McCord hit the bar.
It was all-square in the 31st minute when Leighton McIntosh rammed the ball home from close range after sustained Arbroath pressure.
The match looked to be heading for stalemate although both sides had chances in the closing stages, with Loons sub Scott Lochhead blasting high over the bar when it seemed as though he must score.
Linn then won it for the home side with a clinical finish from close range after finding himself clear on the right side of the box.
Campbell said: “It’s all about winning games, but I’d like see us play a bit better as there were 1,000 people here today.
“However, it’s another three points so we are back in third position in the league,” he said.
“It also looks as though Denholm has picked up a bad injury.
“He’s going to hospital to get it checked, which is a shame because he is a big player for us.”
Forfar manager Jim Weir was disappointed with the outcome but feels his side showed a big improvement on the previous week when they were dumped out of the Scottish Cup by Highland League Formartine United.
He said: “There wasn’t much between the teams and there wasn’t a lot of football played.
“But it was a million times better than last week, although it still hurts.”
l Former Aberdeen and Cardiff City defender Kevin McNaughton has joined Forfar’s coaching staff.
The Dundee-born player retired last summer after making more than 530 appearances in a 17-year career which saw him capped four times for Scotland.
McNaughton will assist Loons boss Jim Weir and assistant Barry Sellars as well as take an active role with the club’s U19 side.