Victory over Cowdenbeath put Montrose 15 points clear of the play-off threatened Blue Brazil.
The Gable Endies had lost two in a row, but defended well on Saturday and struck twice without reply to leave the Fifers without a home win in nine outings.
The first goal came on the half hour when a corner was not properly cleared and Michael Bolochoweckyj fired a low 12-yarder past Jamie Sneddon.
Montrose started the second period well and Chris Templeman, Gary Fraser and Terry Masson all came close to the second goal.
It came 13 minutes from time when sub Matty Smith hooked the ball into the net from seven yards out after the home side failed to deal with a low cross from the right.
Cowden’s Kris Renton twice came close, but they did not create enough chances.
It was a good day for the visitors, but manager Stewart Petrie feels there is still much to be done.
“After losing two matches in a row we went to three at the back and it worked pretty well as we defended solidly,” he said.
“But we are still not safe, by any means, and we will be going into our derby with Arbroath next week looking for points to edge us closer to our goal.”
One home point out of 27 tells the tale of Cowdenbeath’s season.
Assistant manager Billy Brown said: “After we played so well at Berwick and at home to Elgin City, rightly the fans would have been hoping that we had turned the corner.
“But Montrose did their homework and, while Elgin allowed us to play in the midfield area, Montrose completely shut us down and we ended up playing long balls forward and their big defenders just mopped everything up.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game at Clyde, he said: “This is a game we really have to win …”