The Methil men were without the services of top scorer Kurtis Byrne and defender Stewart Murdoch, as Hibs and Falkirk used their prerogative to keep their on loan players available for use in future rounds. No such worries for Forfar boss Dick Campbell, who was given clearance to play loanees Scott Gallacher and Dale Hilson by Rangers and Dundee United respectively.
The home side enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges without seriously threatening the Loons' goal. In 22 minutes the lively Craig Johnstone earned the Fifers a penalty kick when his foraging run was halted by Stephen Tulloch. Robert Sloan dispatched the ball past Gallacher to open the scoring.
The Loons began to raise their game but should have gone two behind before the break when Steven Hislop was sent clean through on goal, but the former Inverness Caledonian Thistle striker's effort was straight at the Forfar keeper. Moments later and it was 2-0 to the Fife. Hislop pounced on a loose ball, directed it across goal and Craig Johnstone's provided the finishing touch. Dick Campbell's protests in the Forfar dugout resulted in a dressing down from referee Frank McDermott who signalled an end to the first half proceedings shortly after.
Half-Time: East Fife 2 Forfar Athletic 0
If the first half had ended badly for the visitors, matters scarcely improved two minutes after the interval when the influential Robert Sloan sent Hislop through to beat Gallacher with a low drive. Three goals ahead, the men in Black and Gold celebrated but memories of the previous week's leaking of a two goal lead to ten man Peterhead remained.
The game opened up as Forfar threw Chris Templeman forward to his customary striker role but Campbell and Smart remained resolute at the back for the Fifers. Johnstone, Linn and Crawford all came close for East Fife before the Angus men dragged themselves back into the tie through an Andy Tod header in the 81st minute.
Substitute Lloyd Young had a chance to add a fourth after good work from Bobby Linn but his shot was well saved by Gallacher.
Full-Time: East Fife 3 Forfar Athletic 1
East Fife: Brown, Durie (McGowan) , Ovenstone, Campbell, Smart, Muir, Linn, Crawford, Hislop, Sloan (Young), Johnstone
Subs (not used): Cargill, Tansey, Baillie
Forfar Athletic: Gallacher, Mowat, Tulloch, Divine, Tod, R. Campbell, Gibson, Deasley, Templeman, I. Campbell, Hilson
Subs: Sellars, Brady, Smith, McLean, Casey
Referee: Frank McDermott