THE WASPS pounced late on as Greig Spence’s penalty sealed a 2-1 victory against rivals Stenhousemuir.

Alloa’s victory cuts the gap at the top to seven points, hauling the club back into the race for the title.

The hosts took the lead through the on-loan Dylan Mackin but were pegged back as substitute Thomas Grant netted his first goal for Stenhousemuir.

However, Spence struck from the spot just minutes from time to secure all three points.

It was a cagey start to the affair as both teams pressed well but struggled to combine a sequence of passes.

Calum Waters came closest early on when he wrapped his foot around a set piece but saw his effort sail just inches wide of the target.

Neil Parry had to be on alert minutes later as Alan Cook’s trickery on the left created enough space to fizz a dangerous ball into the area with the goalkeeper reacting well to keep out Andrew Graham’s attempted clearance.

The Wasps began to find their footing in the game and Mackin killed a ball into the box with the deftest of touches before holding off his man to tee up Iain Flannigan. But the midfielder’s side-footed effort was palmed away by David Crawford.

On the half hour mark a dipping delivery from Cook was met by Mason Robertson but the striker was stretching and could only divert his header over the cross bar.

However, the deadlock was broken five minutes before the break when Mackin received the ball in the area, danced free from his man and rifled home the opener.

The nature of proceedings in the second-half were epitomised by the leveller.

A flowing Alloa counter-attack saw Jordan Kirkpatrick roam into space before feeding the ball to Mackin, who in turn executed a teasing cross into the box but it proved just too far in front of Spence.

Stenhousemuir then immediately broke with pace and the impressive Cook threaded a ball through for Grant.

The substitute showed composure to roll the ball under the onrushing Parry and make it 1-1.

Cook continued to cause problems for the home side and cracked the crossbar with a powerful strike as the game entered the closing twenty minutes.

The Wasps retaliated and Spence’s hassling almost paid off when he robbed David Marsh in the opposition area.

A miscommunication between the centre back and his goalkeeper allowed the striker in but he lost balance and the shot was wayward.

As the game wore on, both teams searched for a winner resulting in a few scrambles inside the penalty area.

Spence drew a foul in 84th minute as Alloa began to turn the screw.

Waters swung a deadly ball into the box and Graham was unlucky to see his header bounce off the upright.

Alloa would have the opportunity they sought just a minute later, however, when Mackin nicked in ahead of Marsh inside the box before being upended.

Referee David Lowe pointed to the spot, much to the delight of the home support.

With the pressure on, and the points in the balance, Spence kept his composure to send Crawford the wrong way and bury the ball into the bottom left corner.

The Warriors threw everything at the home side in a last-ditch attempt to haul themselves back into the game and Cook had a glorious opportunity when the ball landed at his feet just outside the area.

However, the winger snatched at the chance and sliced the ball wide.

The final opening of the encounter would fall the way of Stenhousemuir’s Grant who curled an effort just over the bar from outside the area before the referee blew for full time.

Wasps gaffer Jim Goodwin was delighted to see his team extend their winning run to four games.

He told Advertiser Sport: “The boys have been in great form and I’m really pleased to get the job done.

"We made hard work of it as the second half went on but delighted to get the three points.

“Livingston have set the standard and they’ve been the team to catch.

"We’ve always said, in recent weeks, we’ll never throw in the towel. We’ll keep going right to the end.”

ALLOA: Parry, Taggart, Waters, McKeown, Graham, Holmes, Cawley (Longworth 75), Flannigan (McCluskey 68), Spence (Hoggan 88), Kirkpatrick, Mackin. UNUSED SUBS: McDowall, Marr, Martin, McDonald.