REPORT: Arbroath close gap on leaders Forfar

David Cox and Ricky Little go to war.
David Cox and Ricky Little go to war.

The Angus derby bragging rights stayed with Arbroath after Ryan McCord’s late winner against Forfar Athletic closed the gap at the top of League Two.

McCord nodded home a Josh Skelly free kick with five minutes left to liven up a dull derby, with Loons midfielder Eoghan McCawl hitting the post with the last kick of the game.

The game started off with little to write about, other than the referee’s eagerness to blow for fouls.

The only chance in the opening 20 minutes fell to Colin Hamilton - Martin Scott’s ball across the face of goal found the defender but his shot was blocked on the line and eventually was cleared.

Marc Scott curled an effort wide of the mark for Forfar in the 25th minute while Danny Denholm was inches away from meeting a Lewis Milne cross.

A stramash in the Loons box ended with McCord hitting the bar before Bobby Linn blasted the rebound over.

Hamilton had a long range effort held and from Grant Adam’s punt David Cox nodded weakly in to the arms of Ricky Gomes.

Gavin Swankie looked to have given the hosts the lead against his former club shortly before the break however the terracing side assistant deemed him to have been offside.

Forfar could have taken the lead twice in quick succession at the beginning of the second half when Cox had a header hooked over the bar by Swankie seconds before Cox had an effort deflected wide of the mark.

The attacker had another chance just before the hour mark when he saw his goalbound header cleared off the line by David Gold as the Loons looked to take advantage of their momentum.

Josh Skelly saw his effort blocked by McCawl in the 75th minute while O’Brien was denied by Hamilton at the other end.

The visitors took the lead with five minutes remaining when Linn was fouled near the byline by Jamie Bain; Skelly floated in the set piece for McCord to nod home through a pack of players.

League leaders Forfar looked for a quick response however the closest they came was in the final minute of injury time when McCawl’s curled effort cannoned off the post before hitting Gomes and flying wide off the unsuspecting Allan Smith.

The result means that the Lichties move up to third while Forfar’s lead at the top is cut to two points, although the Loons play one of two games in hand over second-placed Elgin City on Tuesday as they host Annan Athletic.