East Fife departed Gayfield pointless but will certainly feel they did enough to take something from the game.
Dick Campbell's men are worthy league leaders and went into the fixture yet to taste defeat in the league this season.
But they were made to work all the way for their three points on Saturday as East Fife proved a stern test for the title favourites.
A strong wind whipped across the park making life difficult for both sets of players.
East Fife used it to their advantage in an impressive opening spell.
They dominated the early part of the game but, in fairness, never really tested Darren Jamieson in the Arbroath goal.
Darren Young handed a rare start to Craig Thomson and the winger almost repaid his manager's faith by creating an opening goal but his cross was smothered by the home goalie.
It was an entertaining start to the game and Arbroath were next to go close with a Danny Denholm effort which was blocked.
Play raged from end to end with Michael McKenna going close for the home side and Craig Watson doing likewise for the Fifers.
East Fife were enjoying another decent spell when they were suckerpunched as Arbroath grabbed what turned out to be the game's only goal.
Mark Docherty looked like he was fouled inside the Fife half but ref Lloyd Wilson, who had been pretty whistle happy up until this point, snubbed his claims for a foul.
The Lichties certainly showed no mercy and worked the ball to Ryan Wallace inside the box.
He in turn fed McKenna who beat Brett Long from close range.
Boss Darren Young said: "I think we had enough chances, at the end there you’ve got the one off the bar floated in and then Anton Dowds ends up slipping five yards out. Probably a lack of quality in the final third is what killed us.”