Alloa RFC 1st XV…………………………35

Glenrothes RFC 1st XV……………..….... 33

BT Caledonia League, Division 1

LEE CAIRNEY'S impeccable goal kicking made all the difference as Alloa edged out league rivals Glenrothes on Saturday.

Turning in a man-of-the-match showing, the Alloa player notched up just a enough points from conversions to win the excitingly tense fixture that yielded no fewer than ten tries.

The playing style of the respective sides was clear from the outset in that Alloa were trying to put some width into their game while Glenrothes were happy to pick and drive from close quarters.

The home side started off the better and it was they who struck first when Martin McKenzie broke down the blindside with ten minutes gone and Graham Lindsay got on the end of the scrum half's perfectly-weighted kick.

The following twenty minutes of play was fairly evenly balanced with both defences determined not to concede, but it was Glenrothes who made the next breakthrough when they levelled the scores following a series of drives close to the Alloa line.

However, Ed Waller soon put Alloa back in front. The silky running centre showed a fine turn of pace as he left two Glens defenders in his wake and strode over from just outside the 22 metre area.

Lindsay quickly added a second score after initially being grounded short of the line but he was alert enough to get back on his feet before darting round behind the sticks.

Alloa were now eyeing the bonus point and it came via a quick tap penalty by Rab Truesdale who pulled in the cover defence before offloading a pass to Ali Edwards and the skipper showed fine handling skills to release Dale Foster on the overlap.

Cairney's conversion from out wide in blustery conditions had just enough steam to register a fourth conversion and Alloa led 28-7 at the break.

With the wind strengthening in favour of Glens, there was a feeling that Alloa still had some work to do to see off a physical Glenrothes pack.

However, very few among the large home support would have envisaged Glenrothes, save one conversation, completely reversing the first half scoreline.

The Fife side started the second half on the front foot and drew first blood following a series of pick and drives.

But, crucially, Alloa struck back immediately when Matt Duncan was hauled down short of the line with a high tackle but good advantage was applied and Alloa swung the ball out wide and again Waller found a gap to score his second try. Cairney's touchline conversion was outstanding and in the end was to prove to be match winning.

As the half progressed then the penalty count against the home side began to accumulate and eventually Lindsay was shown a yellow card for his teams repeated offences.

By this stage Glens had scored a third but again crucially the conversion drifted wide.

The visitors' tactics were simple, but effective, in that they carried little threat from their back division, so kept the ball in amongst the forwards and it was a case of drawing the penalties and kicking the ball into the danger zones.

Alloa’s defence was stretched and late on was breached twice more as the Glenrothes pack rumbled over the line, the first score earning a try scoring bonus, and with the last play of the match they secured a second bonus point for a defeat of seven points or less.

This was an important win for Alloa against the only side they failed to defeat last season and keeps them firmly in the top three as their league campaign reached the half way stage.

They return to action this Saturday when they entertain Blairgowrie in a Caledonia Shield quarter final tie – the match has an earlier kick-off time of 1.30pm.