It was goals galore at Gayfield for Arbroath on Saturday as they put four past a shell-shocked East Stirlingshire to cement their position in the top spot.
The Shire fought on as best they could, and there were several times when they looked likely to mount a comeback, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the efforts of hitmen Aldin El-Zubaidi, Bobby Linn, Kevin Buchan and Simon Murray.
George Shaw, assistant manager for the visitors, said: “The first half we gave away two sloppy goals. You can’t come to a team that’s top of the league and away from home and give silly goals away like that.”
The result put Arbroath five points clear on Saturday, a lead they had lengthened to eight points by Tuesday, but boss Allan Moore remains cautious.
He said: “You’re never in a comfortable position. I remember being 11 points behind Alloa with Stirling Albion and they were in a comfortable position and we ended up clawing it back and ended up winning the league in the last game of the season.
“So until the final whistle blows on the last game of the season we’ll keep drumming it into the boys that we’ve got to turn up and perform and the fans are getting good value for money with four goals today again.
“Some good play, some pretty bog standard, but we’ve got another clean sheet and we’ve won four-nil so the boys can go down the road happy.”
With the sun at their back, Arbroath established an early dominance forcing their guests on to the back foot with a string of goal scoring opportunities.
But a lack of finesse and some bad luck allowed The Shire to chip away their hosts and recover some lost ground, until El-Zubaidi found himself on the receiving end of an accurate corner pass from Adam Hunter and nodded it cleanly past Richard Barnard 20 minutes in.
Arbroath seemed to sit back a little at this point and the game settled into a more even rhythm.
The second goal came 13 minutes later as Murray inveigled his way into the visiting defence, stole the ball, looked to have made a hash of setting it up and then Linn steamed in to rocket it into the roof of the goal.
The Shire came bounding out of the tunnel after the break and even managed to tie Arbroath down with a brace of dangerous corners.
It wasn’t enough to keep Arbroath at bay and 16 minutes from the end Buchan tidied up a messy melee in the box to make it 3-0.
Around five minutes later some clever linkup play, similar to that demonstrated in the Montrose match, let Murray kill the game with a point blank strike.
East Stirlingshire kept fighting on, but in their desperation nearly allowed Linn to make it 5-0.
The end could not have come soon enough for the visitors who clung on, but to no avail against an uncompromising Arbroath.