Elgin City produced another late show to secure a massive League Two victory over Forfar Athletic.
Both teams cancelled each other out in an uninspiring first half, however, Elgin took command after the break.
Their breakthrough came two minutes into stoppage time when Darryl McHardy, who had netted a last-gasp leveller against Stenhousemuir in their last home game, nodded home.
The result was Elgin’s second successive single-goal victory, and moves Gavin Price’s men to within five points of the promotion play-offs.
The Black and Whites kicked off the new year backed by a near sold-out capped crowd of 499 supporters.
Forfar made the trip north in second position, but fresh from suffering a 4-3 defeat at home to Stenhousemuir the previous weekend.
Gavin Price made three changes from the side which signed off for 2021 with a 1-0 win over Stirling Albion nearly a fortnight ago. Russell Dingwall, Fin Allen and Aidan Sopel dropped out, with Tom Grivosti, Josh Peters, Matheus Machado drafted in.
There was a place on the bench for teenage midfielder Evan Towler following his loan move from Aberdeen, while former Albion Rovers left-back Ali El-Zubaidi was listed as a trialist among the substitutes.
The Loons enjoyed some spells of early pressure, with a dangerous Stefan McCluskey delivery forcing a strong defensive block by McHardy.
City’s first opening came on 10 minutes when Kane Hester went through on goalkeeper Marc McCallum, but was unable to squeeze his effort home from a tight angle.
Forfar threatened again on 14 minutes, with Craig Slater off target with a strike from distance, while at the other end a powerful drive by Brazilian winger Machado drifted inches wide of McCallum’s right-hand post.
The majority of Elgin’s attempts continued to come from long-range, with Angus Mailer and Machado sending efforts well off target.
Slater sent another strike wide from 25 yards on 34 minutes, with neither goalkeeper being tested during the first half.
Elgin’s best chance of the opening period arrived on 38 minutes when Hester got his head on the end of a Machado corner, only to see his effort cleared off the line by Callum Moore.
Both sides went into the second half looking to produce a better offering, with Towler brought on at the interval to replace injured skipper Euan Spark.
Elgin goalkeeper Thomas McHale was called into action a minute after the break, blocking Scott Shepherd’s initial effort with his legs before standing tall to gather Gary Harkins’ follow-up.
A slack ball out from the back resulted in an even better chance for Harkins, who weaved into a great position but struck the side-netting.
Elgin came close on 49 minutes when a break down the right saw Matthew Cooper cross for Peters, who sent a first-time shot wide.
Grivosti was next to threaten with a curling free-kick from the edge of the box, which he was unable to keep down.
The on-loan Ross County defender then looked to pick out Peters with a low delivery on 59 minutes, which was unable to fall kindly for the attacker.
Another promising free-kick opportunity was wasted on 62 minutes, when Machado blasted high over the bar.
A clever ball over the top by Rory MacEwan nearly released Hester through on goal, only for a last-ditch challenge by Andy Munro to come to the Loons’ rescue.
Substitute Tony Dingwall saw a shot blocked in the dying stages, however, he set up a late chance for Elgin talisman Hester, who could only strike straight into the arms of McCallum.
McHale was forced to come out to block a McCluskey effort as both sides pushed for a winner, with Dingwall then seeing a free-kick tipped over by McCallum.
The resulting corner brought the winning goal though, with McHardy getting on the end of Dingwall’s corner to nod home, sparking jubilation among the City faithful.
ELGIN CITY (4-4-2) – McHale 6; Grivosti 7, Draper 7, McHardy 7, Spark 5 (Towler 46); Cooper 6, MacEwan 6 (R Dingwall 75), Mailer 7, Machado 7; Peters 6 (T Dingwall 75), Hester 6. Subs not used – Sopel, O’Keefe, El-Zubaidi, Lawrence, Dunn.
FORFAR ATHLETIC (4-2-3-1) – McCallum 6; Meechan 6, Munro 6, S Anderson 5 (Whyte 67), Strachan 6; Slater 6, Harkins 7; McCluskey 7, Moore 6 (Gallagher 75), Crossan 6 (G Anderson 81); Shepherd 6 (Doris 75). Subs not used – Irvine, Fisher.
Referee – Dan McFarlane 5
Man of the match: Darryl McHardy