Forfar Athletic gave their title ambitions a huge boost after beating Angus neighbours and promotion rivals Brechin City in a five-goal thriller at Glebe Park.
The victory means the Loons sit in third place in the League One table, on the same number of points as second-placed Morton, who have a slightly superior goal difference, and are just one point behind leaders Stranraer.
The derby win brought a smile to the face of manager Dick Campbell, who now sees the championship as well within the grasp of his side.
“It was a typical local derby but I felt that we were well worth our victory,” he said.
“At this stage of the season, with just six games to go it’s not so much about how you play it’s more about getting three points but I don’t think that anyone would deny that we deserved our win today.
“We’ve now beaten Brechin, Morton and Stranraer within the last two weeks and all of those teams have still to play each other and will take points off each other so I’m absolutely delighted with the victory and I’ll remain completely focused on making sure Forfar are in good shape for the last six games.”
City started the game well and full-back Paul McLean fired them ahead after six minutes when he picked the ball up just within the Forfar half and pushed forward before unleashing a glorious right-foot drive which gave Rab Douglas no chance.
City surged forward looking to add to their tally but they were shocked to the core when the Loons hit back to score two goals in quick succession.
Derek Young grabbed the equaliser after 13 minutes when he picked the ball up at the edge of the box and fired in a drive which took a deflection off City defender Darren McCormack before entering the net.
The Loons grabbed the advantage a couple of minutes later when veteran Chris Templeman neatly controlled the ball in the box before slotting it past Graeme Smith with the home defence appealing for offside.
Forfar controlled the play for the rest of the half and they looked to have secured all three points after 64 minutes when Darren Dods rose above the City defence to head home a Martyn Fotheringham corner.
City were down but not out and Andy Jackson gave them some hope when he powered home a header from a Calum Tapping corner with six minutes remaining, but the Loons’ defence held firm in the closing stages for what was in the end a deserved victory and a vital three points.
City manager Ray McKinnon, while disappointed with the final result, insisted his side were still in the frame for the title.
“I didn’t think that there was a lot in the game and the lads in the dressing room are bitterly disappointed, but I’ve told them that we still have seven matches to play and we’re certainly not giving up on the championship,” he said.
“We play Peterhead here on Tuesday night and if we can win that game we’re right back in it.”