Ryan McCord opened the scoring for Arbroath after 38 minutes with a precise free-kick only for Jamie Reid to equalise from Brian Cameron’s pass shortly before the hour mark.McCord soon restored Arbroath’s lead and, after Elgin’s Reid was dismissed for a second bookable offence, McCord completed his hat-trick with ten minutes left.
Jass Sukar’s 86th minute goal proved scant consolation for Elgin as Arbroath held on for a victory that puts them one win from the title.
Forfar, top of the table since August, surrendered top spot following a 1-1 draw at bottom club Cowdenbeath who remain favourites for the relegation play-off.
Robbie Buchanan’s emphatic finish in the 47th minute handed Cowdenbeath the breakthrough but the hosts soon had Shaun Rutherford sent off for violent conduct. Forfar took advantage to level in the 69th minute through Danny Denholm.
Third-placed Annan Athletic confirmed their play-off place with a 5-1 destruction of Montrose who stay fourth.
Annan led by four goals inside 17 minutes at Galabank with Rabin Omar, Barry Cuddihy, Steve Swinglehurst and Raffi Krissian on target. Montrose’s Iain Campbell was then ordered off for a second bookable offence after which Peter Weatherson notched a fifth for Annan.Kerr Hay scored a consolation goal on 82 minutes.
Clyde and Berwick Rangers played out a 1-1 draw at Broadwood. David Gormley’s 33rd minute penalty opened the scoring for Clyde but Jonny Fairburn levelled with a 55th minute header.
Stirling Albion’s play-off hopes were ended by a last-minute 1-0 loss at Edinburgh City, Derek Riordan netting the winner in stoppage time.