The hosts needed to win to take the head-to-head race down to the wire next weekend, but the Lochlands side staved off the jitters to snatch a five-run success.
Opener Brendon Ford, who held on to shepherd the tail to set a target of 227 for nine, was out for 112 in the last over at Grange Loan before producing a tight stint of bowling at an important stage of an absorbing match.
Arbroath skipper Marc Petrie said: "We badly wanted to finish the job this weekend. I know we had two bites of the cherry, but it would have been a hard task to beat Grange in the last game.
"I can't praise the guys highly enough. Every member of the squad has contributed to the campaign and carried out their individual responsibilities. We have had the odd setback, but the character of this side has shone through in the positive manner in which they have reacted."
Carlton are on another quest for a trophy today when they square up to capital rivals Grange in the Scottish Cup final at New Williamfield in Stirling, but it is certain to take enormous resolve to bounce back after last night's so-near-yet-so-far outcome.
The Carlton reply began in solid fashion with Kyle Macpherson and Hamish Gardiner combining in a half-century stand. Then, with the tally on 52, the former departed for 24, having struck Calvin Burnett straight to point.
Burnett was back in the spotlight in the 22nd over to get rid of dangerman Gardiner, held at slip for 44, leaving Carlton still in reasonable shape at 88 for two.
Former Scotland batsman Fraser Watts quelled the jitters and, going into the crucial last 20 overs, the Edinburgh outfit needed 104 with eight wickets in hand - a position from which they would expect to win on most occasions.
The streetwise Watts used all of his experience and guile to keep up the momentum, reaching his 50 in the 36th over with the tussle intriguingly poised.
However, he was heading back to the pavilion one run later, a victim of Craig Ramsay.
Wickets began to tumble at regular intervals, leading to the nail-biting finale.
With two overs remaining, Carlton required 18 with only two men left to come in.
The 49th over yielded only four runs, putting Arbroath back in pole position, with many spect-ators hardly daring to watch from the boundary rope.
And it all boiled down to the last ball with Carlton needing a six, but it wasn't to be - and the Arbroath players could not disguise their glee as they turned cartwheels on the square.
Arbroath's other main run contributors were Ford's opening partner Ross McLean, out with the score at 74, and Calvin Burnett, who departed for 32.
Uddingston, meanwhile, earned their expected win against Ayr to keep their noses in front of Clydesdale in the duel for the Western Premiership title.
The bowling performance of the day - if not the entire season - was produced by Alan Davidson of Dumfries.
His return of seven for nine was instrumental in the tense win against West of Scotland in a low-scoring affair at Nunholm.
Dumfries had been in dire straits after being all out for 73. But Davidson had the last word as West crashed to 67 all out.