Leaders Queen of the South came back from being a goal and a man down to stun Arbroath 5-1 at Palmerston Park to move 14 points clear of the field.
The Doonhamers’ latest success was achieved despite a numerical disadvantage for 70 minutes and the Gayfield side going ahead on 17 minutes when Steven Doris shot home.
Mark Durnan was dismissed shortly afterwards for a foul on Darren Gribben and at half time it looked like a first home league defeat of the season was on.
Player/manager Allan Johnston tinkered with his formation and a remarkable second half performance turned everything around. Derek Lyle equalised from close range and Nicky Clark put Queen’s in front before Dan Carmichael lobbed home with Stephen McKenna and Clark again scoring to complete the win.
Johnston said: “Credit to the boys after going down to ten men and producing a performance like that. We went man for man at the back which was a gamble but it paid off.”
Visiting player/manager Paul Sheerin said: “We need to dust ourselves down and get back into the fight for the play-offs.”
Queens extended their lead as second-placed Alloa went down 3-2 at third-placed Brechin where Andy Jackson hit the decisive goal with seven minutes left.
David McKenna had given the Glebe Park men the lead when he volleyed in after three minutes, but Kevin Cawley levelled shortly afterwards with a fine strike.
McKenna had a penalty saved by Scott Bain before Ryan McCord had the Wasps winning before half-time when he scored from the spot. Alan Trouten pulled City level five minutes after the break with Jackson turning and shooting home to win the points for Ray McKinnon’s men.
Forfar remain fourth despite losing 2-0 at Stenhousemuir where Sean Dickson and Darren Smith both scored in the second half and East Fife closed in on a play-off spot thanks to Collin Samuel’s double in the 2-0 win over Albion Rovers.
The sides played in almost identical strips with the Fifers’ black and yellow effort very similar to the visiting dark blue and yellow combo, although one figure was easily identifiable.
The giant frame of Marvin Andrews stood out as the 37-year-old played his first senior game in Scotland for nearly three years when he appeared as a trialist at the heart of the visiting defence.
Ayr eased their relegation worries thanks to their 1-0 success at Stranraer where David Winters scored the game’s only goal in the first half.