Alloa Athletic.....................1

Forfar Athletic....................0

Scottish League One

ALLOA ground out a hard-fought victory over League One strugglers Forfar Athletic to boost their chances of finishing in the end-of-season playoff places.

This was not a vintage performance from the Wee County side, but captain Andy Graham’s first-half header was enough to see the Wasps claim a second successive victory and climb to third in the table.

Jim Goodwin named an unchanged team from the side which won at Ayr last week, with right-back Scott Taggart passing a late fitness test to take his place in the starting lineup.

Despite losing out in the first two meetings this season Forfar made the brighter start, testing the Alloa defence with a couple of early corners and penning the Wasps back inside their own half.

The Loons had the first clear-cut chance of the game after eight minutes when Greg Hurst, who had already scored one winner against Alloa this season while with East Fife, headed wide from Darren Whyte’s searching cross.

Neil Parry was called into action as he made a fine save, tipping Mark Millar’s stinging drive onto the crossbar.

And the big keeper was forced to rescue his side again moments later as he pushed Hurst’s shot from distance round the post.

Alloa’s first clear-cut opportunity arrived with a quarter of an hour played. After good work from Callum Crane and Ross Stewart, Jordan Kirkpatrick had a sight of goal but after his initial effort was blocked, he blazed the rebound of the bar.

Scott Taggart then fizzed a shot wide as the Wasps began to grow into the game.

Alloa really began to take hold of the match and were only denied an opener when Marc McCallum made a superb double save to keep Kirkpatrick and Iain Flannigan at bay.

But a minute later they did have the lead. Steven Hetherington swung in a fine delivery from a free kick and Graham got across his man to glance the ball into the far corner.

It was nearly two for the home side when Stewart capitalised on a defensive slip, but he didn’t catch his shot and McCallum was able to recover.

Alloa started the second half on the front foot and almost had a second goal ten minutes after the break when Andy Munro sliced a clearance towards his own goal, but McCallum got back well to tip the ball over the bar.

And the keeper was called into action again moments later when he parried Stewart’s shot round the post.

The Wasps were struggling to put the game to bed and passed up some good chances, notably when Stewart raced clear, only to put the ball wide with only McCallum to beat.

But they were not the only side guilty of profligacy. Parry flapped at a cross which was sent back into the box, but with the goal at his mercy Hurst could only nod the ball wide of the post.

Hurst was frustrated again moments later, seeing a good effort tipped away by Parry as the keeper made amends.

Parry’s hands were stung again by another superbly-struck shot from Millar as the visitors desperately piled the pressure on late in the game.

However, Alloa held out for an important win which further cemented their place in the third-tier promotion race.

ALLOA: Parry, Taggart, Crane, Graham, McCart, Fleming (Robertson), Cawley (Crossan), Hetherington, Stewart, Kirkpatrick (Smith), Flannigan. UNUSED SUBS: Renton, McKeown, Monaghan, Wilson.