A bright, crisp afternoon at Station Park saw second in the table Dunfermline Athletic visit hoping to bounce back from their defeat to Rangers in the Scottish Cup last Friday.
Forfar themselves were looking to recover from their defeat to St Johnstone in the cup and almost got themselves off to the perfect start when a flighted freekick from the centre circle was flicked on before a shot was well saved by Scully in the Dunfermline goal.
However, from that chance, Dunfermline took the lead almost straight away.
A ball was played to Dunfermline’s El-Bahktaoui on the left wing; he cut in past the Forfar full back before flicking a deft finish over Rab Douglas into the top corner from a tight angle.
It was an ideal start for the away side after just four minutes although Forfar will be left wishing they could have prevented a fairly simple goal. Forfar had a half chance to equalise a few minutes later when Scully spilled a corner in the centre of the box, but the ball was easily cleared by the Dunfermline defence before any Forfar player had a chance to capitalise.
It was a tight game although Dunfermline were looking the more threatening on the break before a ball over the top sent Gavin Swankie through on goal; he composed himself before letting fly a volley from the edge of the box that forced Scully into a great save to his left.
Forfar nearly shot themselves in the foot just a minute later when a poor clearance by Douglas let Dunfermline in, despite a numbers advantage. El-Bahktaoui could only shoot wide when he should have doubled his side’s lead.
Forfar were pushing for an equaliser although Dunfermline were always looking threatening on the break, but after 33 minutes Gavin Swankie, always looking like Forfar’s main threat, volleyed over from the edge of the box.
Two minutes later, Forfar had their deserved equaliser; another freekick was thrown into the Dunfermline box and James Dale was able to stab into the bottom right corner after Dunfermline had failed to clear the ball.
Dunfermline nearly retook the lead after 42 minutes when a cross from the left wing was met on the volley by Ryan Wallace but his effort flew just wide of the post with Rab Douglas beaten. That was the last chance of an end to end first half although El-Bahktaoui was booked right on half time for dissent after a late challenge right in front of the technical area.
Half-time: Forfar Athletic 1, Dunfermline Athletic 1
Just a minute after the restart, the away side were forced into making a change, Stephen Husband replacing Andy Geegan who was limping after a heavy challenge.
Darren Dods then saw yellow for unsporting behaviour and it was Dunfermline who were pushing hard to retake the lead.
With 54 minutes on the clock, Ross Forbes saw his freekick tipped over the bar by Douglas after a bad challenge by Stuart Malcolm, which he was booked for.
Despite the away side’s strong start to the second half, it was Forfar who took the lead after 59 minutes.
A quick freekick from the half way line was knocked into Gavin Swankie who ran with it before unleashing a fizzing shot from 25 yards that flew into the bottom right corner of Ryan Scully’s goal.
Ross Forbes had been booked for complaining about the decision to award the freekick and whilst the goal had come against the run of play, it was well deserved.
Dunfermline had a chance to equalise just five minutes later when Iain Campbell saw yellow for a foul at the edge of the box but Ross Forbes saw his freekick brilliantly stopped by Douglas in the Forfar goal. The veteran keeper threw himself across goal to keep out the effort which looked destined to nestle in the top corner. The game was opening up with Forfar looking to try and extend their lead but it was Dunfermline who hit back with substitute Stephen Husband finding the top left corner from 18 yards after 68 minutes.
The Forfar defence will be very disappointed to have failed to clear the ball but Douglas had no chance in the Forfar goal. Instead of steadying the ship and regaining a foothold in the match, it went from bad to worse within two minutes for Forfar.
Danny Grainger dug out a cross from near the corner flag that Darren Dods flicked under Douglas as he attempted to clear which made it 3-2 to Dunfermline.
It was a hammer blow to Forfar to go from winning to losing in the space of two or three minutes, but to their credit, they kept fighting for another equaliser.
Gavin Malin was replaced by Martyn Fotheringham for Forfar and Lawrence Shankland replaced the ineffectual Ryan Wallace up front for Dunfermline as the away side pushed for another goal whilst Forfar looked to equalise.
They nearly managed after 76 minutes when Chris Templeman saw his looping header rebound off the Dunfermline bar but that was the closest that the home side got.
Ross Campbell replaced Omar Kader for Forfar before Darren Dods tried to make up for his own goal although he could only head over the bar from a corner.
That was the last chance for Forfar to take anything from the game as just two minutes later, Dunfermline sealed it. A ball was flicked on to Dunfermline sub Shankland and he hit a dipping volley from the edge of the 18 yard box which flew past Douglas into the top right hand corner which guaranteed the three points would be going back to Fife.
Forfar Athletic - Rab Douglas; Mark Baxter; Iain Campbell; Stuart Malcolm; Darren Dods; Gary Fusco; Omar Kader; James Dale; Chris Templeman; Gavin Swankie; Gavin Malin. Subs; Ross Cambell; Marvin Andrews; Neil McCabe; Jamie McCluskey; Martyn Fotheringham; Craig Smith; Darren Hill (GK).
Dunfermline Athletic - Ryan Scully; Ryan Williamson; Danny Grainger; Lewis Martin; Callum Morris; Jonathan Page; Faissel El Bakhtaoui; Andy Geegan; Ryan Wallace; Josh Falkingham; Ross Forbes. Subs; Lawrence Shankland; Jordan Moore; Alex Whittle; Stephan Husband; Shaun Byrne; Ross Milne; Ryan Goodfellow (GK).