With only a few seconds left, the Lichties seemed destined to move to the top of the league with Forfar’s defeat already sealed by Montrose.
However with the last kick of the ball Ryan Porteous tapped in after challenging Ricky Gomes to dent Arbroath’s title hopes, with several of the home players falling to the pitch in disbelief.
Despite an icy start to the match, thanks to a spring hail shower the Lichties dominated the early proceedings enjoying a strong wind at their back.
Bobby Linn created a great opening for Omar Kader after disposing the City defence of the ball before dancing past two challenges but Kader’s angled drive was just over the bar.
Arbroath had keeper Gomes to thank as he twice brilliantly denied City in the space of a minute first as veteran striker Craig Beattie hit a low drive after beating 4 defenders, then blocked a Joe Mbu powerful right foot strike.
Arbroath continued to press but City’s Joe Mbu was in a defiant mood and seemed to relishing the physical battle with Steven Doris denying the striker twice from close range.
On the stroke of half time Doris did have the ball in the back of the net, but was correctly ruled offside.
Arbroath manager Dick Campbell introduced Bryan Prunty for Martin Scott as he looked for the crucial opening goal.
Yet it was City who seemed to have upped their game as Lewis Allan ran in on goal forcing Gomes to dive to make another fantastic stop.
Arbroath’s best effort of the second half came from a fumble by City keeper Calum Antell from a Linn cross.
Bryan Prunty looked odds on to head into the empty net but Porteous somehow hooked the ball away from under Prunty’s nose.
The Lichties looked out of ideas whilst Edinburgh City were building momentum and again Gomes produced another stunning save as Allan’s shot was destined for the top corner.
In the final minute a City corner was only half cleared and as the ball fell to Josh Walker on the wing, it was his curling cross that created all the problems which led to Ryan Porteous finding the net.
Edinburgh celebrated like a team who knew that a win edged them closer to league survival, but the Lichties need to find new tactics if they want the league title.