Alloa Athletic....................0


Scottish League One

ALLOA narrowly missed out on the chance to seal their playoff place as they lost to Stranraer for the third time this season.

Morgyn Neill’s second-half header was enough to secure the points for the visitors, who kept their own slim playoff hopes alive with victory at the Indodrill Stadium.

The home side dominated for long spells but in truth could have played for days without scoring, such was the frustrating nature of the afternoon.

Jim Goodwin made one change to his starting lineup, bringing PJ Crossan into the side in place of Callum Crane, who was ruled out through injury.

The Wasps boss reshuffled his side with Jon Robertson dropping to right back, Scott Taggart switching to the left, Iain Flannigan moving into the centre of midfield and Crossan taking up the left-midfield berth.

The opening stages produced a fairly open encounter, with the first half-chance falling to ex-Alloa man Scott Agnew who stung Neil Parry’s palms with a 20-yard drive.

At the other end, Wasps captain Andy Graham’s looping header was kept out by Max Currie after the defender had got on the end of Jordan Kirkpatrick’s free kick from the left.

Kirkpatrick himself then sent a low drive wide of the post, but he would have been better served squaring the ball for Crossan, who was in acres of space.

Jamie McCart was forced to block Ross Lyon’s goal-bound shot, while Crossan, who had looked sharp in the opening quarter, sent a shot straight down Currie’s throat.

Kirkpatrick grew into the game and had Currie scrambling with a low shot which went just wide of the target, and it looked as though the goalkeeper would have been a beaten man.

Some neat play from Alloa almost brought an opener on the stroke of half time. Kirkpatrick burst into space down the right and, although his cross beat Ross Stewart, it rebounded off Lyon and was heading for the back of the net had the goalkeeper not intervened.

The Wasps suffered a major setback ten minutes into the second half as they fell behind against the run of play. Neill found the space to get on the end of an Agnew corner and was able to direct his header downwards and beyond the despairing Parry.

Alloa’s response was immediate, and from a corner of their own Stewart headed over after Steven Hetherington had whipped a tempting cross towards the front post.

Stranraer continued to threaten and Dean Hawkshaw’s effort fizzed over the bar, while Hetherington wasn’t far away for the home side with a dipping volley from a long way out.

Kirkpatrick then saw a shot deflected agonisingly wide of the post, and at the resulting corner, Currie was able to gather.

Kyle Turner had impressed at the heart of the visitors’ midfield all afternoon and came so close to the goal his performance deserved, thundering a shot off the crossbar.

Alloa threw everything at Stranraer but found Currie in stunning form. The young keeper made an incredible stop to deny Stewart, tipping the striker’s powerful header wide from point-blank range.

The goalkeeper was called into action again, stopping Kevin Cawley’s shot which seemed to be heading for the top corner.

He was helpless when Iain Flannigan’s corner found Kris Renton unmarked in the six-yard box, but the ball came at the striker quickly, giving him no time to react, and ricocheted over the bar.

The excellent Turner continued to cause havoc and almost got on the scoresheet once again, bursting into the box and curling just over the bar.

Kirkpatrick was Alloa’s main attacking force throughout and was unlucky not to snatch an equaliser as he flashed a shot over the bar from the edge of the box.

That missed chance capped a thoroughly frustrating day at the office, who now have three league games in which to secure their playoff place – the final two coming against the division’s big boys Ayr United and Raith Rovers.

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