Arbroath extended their lead at the top of League One to 13 points on Saturday after thumping four goals past Stenhousemuir at Ochilview.
The Lichties welcomed back Manager Dick Campbell to the dugout after serving his eight match suspension and he handed a debut to latest signing Luke Donnelly who partnered Ryan Wallace up front.
It only took four minutes for Arbroath to get onto the scoresheet with Danny Denholm curling in a cross from the left wing which was volleyed in at the back post by Bobby Linn who showed incredible skill and composure to hit the ball first time.
Arbroath doubled their lead just five minutes later as good pressure on the right wing allowed Jason Thomson to steal back possession before Donnelly set up Ryan Wallace who hit a low dipping drive from 20 yards past keeper Lewis McMinn.
It was looking like a routine win for Arbroath as Wallace and then Donnelly both forced saves from McMinn but in the 40th minute Stenhousemuir were given a lifeline.
Mark McGuigan scored his fourth goal of the season against Arbroath in the 40th minute after he was set up by a bizarre ricochet off the leg of Denholm from a clearance which turned out to be the perfect assist.
The home side almost equalised just 60 seconds later when former Lichtie Alan Cook smashed a left foot strike off the cross bar.
There was early controversy in the second half when Thomson headed in a Denholm corner kick. The ball bounced off the cross bar, down over the line then back out but referee Greg Aitken waved play on.
The Arbroath fans behind the goal however were soon celebrating as Donnelly set up Wallace to score his second of the game in the 52nd minute with a clever chip from an acute angle.
Despite not being on the scoresheet Gavin Swankie was immense for the Lichties in midfield and highlighted his composure and skill with a great take down, run and shot in the 55th minute.
Bobby Linn’s stunning form continued and he scored his 16th league goal of the season in the 58th minute in spectacular fashion as he curled the ball into the net directly from a corner kick.
Arbroath had a good claim for a penalty when Wallace was caught by Alan Reid but again
Referee Aitken wasn’t interested.
Stenhousemuir struggled to get back into the game with Arbroath keeper Darren Jamieson
untested for most of the second half.
Lewis McMinn denied substitute Michael McKenna and then Thomas O’Brien with Morgyn
Neill denying Ryan Wallace his hat-trick with a goal line clearance.
A comfortable away win for the Lichties in the end with just 7 more away fixtures
Stenhousemuir; McMinn, Duthie,