Forfar Athletic moved two points ahead of seventh place after an amazing 5-1 victory over Angus rivals Brechin City in a New Year clash at Glebe Park.
Manager Dick Campbell made a single change from the previous game against Ayr almost two weeks ago, with Mark Baxter returning from injury and Jamie McCluskey dropping to the bench.
The Loons made a much better start to the game, James Dale volleying into City loanee Calum Antell’s arms in the second minute before Chris Templeman, Gavin Malin and Martyn Fotheringham all combined for Fotheringham to chip Antell from just inside the penalty area much to the delight of the big travelling support.
In the ninth minute it was almost two as a through ball from Gary Fusco was knocked past an on-rushing Antell by Dale Hilson but he could only fire his attempt towards an open goal against the post and was cleared before Templeman could reach it.
Brechin’s first effort of the game came in the 13th minute but it was a poor one from Alan Trouten, the low shot going into Rab Douglas’ arms easily.
Forfar doubled their advantage in the 16th minute, Malin and Hilson setting up Templeman, whose shot lacked any power and wouldn’t have really troubled normally, crept into the bottom right corner.
Five minutes later Forfar had a double chance, Fotheringham sent a through ball to Dale Hilson and he beat Graham Hay but his effort was touched wide before the resultant corner was fired into the side netting by Hilson again.
In the 23rd minute Andy Jackson, who was City’s best player all day, shot poorly into Douglas’s arms again after Trouten saw his nodded away.
The lead was extended further in the 31st minute, an Iain Campbell free kick was headed towards Antell but he fumbled under pressure from Templeman and Darren Dods took the opportunity to blast the ball into the roof of the net. Douglas could have had the deckchair out for all the threatening Brechin were doing, Forfar were that dominant in the first half.
It was 4-0 three minutes later, a long ball was collected by Hilson and he turned past Steven Jackson before curling home at the near post.
Full back Mark Baxter was forced off in the 41st minute to be replaced by winger Omar Kader before the last action of the first half saw Steven Jackson’s free kick on the edge of the box deflect wide before the corner came to nothing.
HALF TIME: Brechin City 0, Forfar Athletic 4
City manager Ray McKinnon shored things up at the back at half time, taking off Derek Carcary for Paul McLean.
Despite early pressure from Brechin, they couldn’t break through the Loons’ defence, with the first effort coming from Forfar in the 52nd minute, Hilson firing into Antell’s hands.
A minute later Fotheringham saw a free kick from 25 yards smash off the Brechin wall and onto the roof of the net.
Just after the hour mark the Loons were unlucky not to be five ahead, Omar Kader beat defenders before seeing his shot deflected onto the bar and the resulting stramash ending with James Dale’s shot smothered by Antell.
Forfar Athletic were awarded a penalty in the 68th minute, Chris Templeman being fouled by Craig Molloy and Ewan Moyes.
Iain Campbell stepped up for his third penalty this season against Brechin, fourth if you count the penalty shoot-out in the cup replay and saw the attempt pushed away by Antell.
Brechin hit the post in the 72nd minute, Bobby Barr doing well to cut the ball back to Jackson and his effort came off the woodwork.
Martyn Fotheringham attempted to recreate his goal in a friendly with Forfar West End on Monday with a lob from the halfway line that Antell had to work to catch.
With 15 minutes left, Brechin grabbed a consolation goal, another cut back saw Bobby Barr sweep home from close range.
Just under six minutes later the lead was extended, Omar Kader ran at the defence and his shot looked goalbound but Templeman knocked it in at the far post to make sure of the goal.
Martyn Fotheringham and Omar Kader almost added more before the final whistle but Antell did well to save both efforts.
Brechin City: Calum Antell, Steven Jackson, Johnny Brown, Graham Hay, Ewan Moyes, Darren Petrie (Steven Robb 60), Alan Trouten, Craig Molloy (Greg Cameron 70), Andy Jackson, Bobby Barr, Derek Carcary (Paul McLean 46). Subs not used: Ryan Donnelly, Allan Walker, Craig Nelson (gk).
Forfar Athletic: Rab Douglas, Mark Baxter (Omar Kader 41), Iain Campbell, Stuart Malcolm, Darren Dods, Martyn Fotheringham, James Dale (Jamie McCluskey 70), Gary Fusco, Chris Templeman, Gavin Malin (Ross Campbell 70), Dale Hilson.