ALLOA boss Jim Goodwin says his side’s response in the second leg of their playoff semi-final was the perfect tonic for their lacklustre first-leg showing.
The Wasps entered the second game a goal behind, but roared back to level the scores before going on to win on penalties.
And the manager reckons that the current crop of Alloa stars is the best group of players he has ever worked with.
Goodwin told Advertiser Sport: “I’m absolutely delighted with the overall performance. The boys showed great character. We weren’t at the races on Wednesday night and Airdrie deserved to win, but I thought the boys were different class for the majority of the second leg. I don’t think anybody could argue with the overall outcome.
“Penalties can be a bit of a lottery and when you take into account the chances we had, we should probably have put the game to bed before extra time. But I am so, so proud of the boys. Throughout my 20 years in football I don’t think I’ve ever known a group like this. You couldn’t tell who the part-time team was out there. Most full-time players don’t know they’re born when compared to what my lads have to do. Their energy levels were frightening out there.”
Goodwin praised the players who stepped up in the penalty shootout, in particular left-back Calum Waters, who slotted home the decisive spot-kick, but insisted that the whole team’s performance was worthy of praise.
He said: “The lads who stepped up showed a lot of bravery. Calum’s heart must have been racing but he’s the player you want in that situation, with the quality of his left foot. Neil Parry made two great saves as well. But I don’t think I can single out any individuals. The performance levels were back to where we expected them to be on Wednesday, and we’ve now got a final to look forward to this week.”
The Wasps will face familiar foes Brechin over a two-legged final, with the first game taking place at Glebe Park on Wednesday evening, and Goodwin reckons the fact the two sides know each other so well will make for an entertaining encounter.
He added: “Brechin are a very well-organised side, and any encounter we’ve had with them has been a difficult one. But we have played them four times already this season so it’s probably easier for me because we know them a lot better than Raith Rovers. The two teams know each other well and that will make for another great game. We have to apply ourselves properly, and I know that if we replicate the performance [against Airdrie] we will be fine.”