Alloa Athletic...1

ALLOA’S League One title hopes were ended as Livingston clinched promotion at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Saturday.

The Wasps had hit the woodwork twice in the opening minutes, but fell two behind through Scott Pittman and Jackson Longridge, before Dylan Mackin pulled a goal back.

Livi striker Liam Buchanan also missed a penalty against his former club as his current team sealed an immediate return to the Championship.

There were two changes to the Alloa squad, with Jason Marr and Dylan Mackin returning to the starting lineup in place of Frank McKeown and Iain Flannigan.

The home side were fired up prior to a game where a win would see them clinch the League One title, but the first chance of the afternoon went the way of the Wasps, Jordan Kirkpatrick crashing a volley off the post after Kevin Cawley’s shot had been deflected into his path.

And Alloa would strike the woodwork for a second time in as many minutes. Scott Taggart made a bursting run down the right and hung up a terrific cross, and Dylan Mackin directed a header beyond Liam Kelly only to see the ball come back off the same post as Kirkpatrick’s effort moments earlier.

The Wasps were on top and were getting a lot of joy through Taggart down the right. First the full-back teed up Kevin Cawley, whose effort was thwarted by Kelly, before he picked out Mackin with a low cross, the young striker blazing his effort well over the crossbar.

Livingston began to grow into the game and Pittman tested Neil Parry with a low drive which the keeper gathered at the second attempt.

Parry would be called into action again minutes later, this time making a stunning stop to keep the Lions at bay. Pittman’s cross was sliced into the path of Rafa De Vita by Andy Graham, but as the Italian looked set to score, the keeper dived full-stretch to block the close-range shot.

But the home side would have the lead seconds later and it arrived in style. Pittman picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and the former Alloa youngster unleashed an unstoppable shot which flew past the helpless Parry and into the corner.

Danny Mullen then tried his luck from a similar position, only to see his effort sail a couple of inches the wrong side of the post.

There was a further blow for the Wasps when Kirkpatrick, so often a key man this season, was forced off with an injury before the half had reached the midway point.

Mullen was proving to be a threat and came close again, sidestepping two challenges and once again fizzing a shot just wide of the mark.

Alloa had a shout for a penalty when Cawley was bundled over in the box by Jackson Longridge, but the referee waved away the Wasps’ protests.

On the stroke of half-time the Wasps could have drawn level when Steven Hetherington’s cross eventually fell to Graham, but Kelly was able to gather the defender’s shot.

Seconds after the break Alloa’s task became even harder when they fell two goals behind. Longridge took possession wide on the left and drove into the box, cutting inside and curling a low shot past Parry and into the bottom corner via the post.

It could have got even worse for the Wasps when Josh Mullin was tripped in the box, with the referee pointing to the spot. Former Alloa striker Buchanan stepped up and smashed his penalty off the post, before tapping home the rebound, but the referee correctly ruled the goal out as no other player had touched the ball.

And seconds later the Wasps had a route back into the game. Calum Waters swung in a corner and Mackin rose to meet it, powering a header into the bottom corner to reduce the arrears to one.

Substitute Stefan McCluskey forced Kelly into a good save at his near post and Marr headed over the bar as the visitors pushed for a leveller.

But despite their late pressure, there was to be no comeback from Alloa, who will now have to negotiate the playoffs if they are to join their opponents in returning to the second tier next season.

Alloa: Parry, Taggart, Waters, Graham, Marr, Holmes, Cawley (McCluskey), Hetherington, Spence (Longworth), Kirkpatrick (Robertson), Mackin. Not used: McDowall, Martin, McDonald, Hoggan.