Inverness CT......................2
Alloa Athletic.....................2

Scottish Championship

TEN-MAN Alloa got their Championship campaign off the ground with a hard-fought draw at Inverness.

The Wasps fell behind through Brad McKay’s header, but pulled level after George Oakley put the ball into his own net.

Sean Welsh’s penalty restored Caley Thistle’s advantage, prior to which Zdravko Karadachki was shown two yellow cards in the space of a minute.

Coll Donaldson then missed a spot-kick for the hosts before Iain Flannigan sealed a point for the visitors from the spot.

New signings Dario Zanatta and Liam Burt went straight into the matchday squad, with the former taking Alan Trouten’s place in the starting lineup.

The home side started brightly and Tom Walsh’s delightful ball across the face of goal was begging to be put away, but nobody in blue and red was able to get a touch.

Inverness thought they had taken the lead when Oakley bundled home a Liam Polworth cross, but he was denied by the linesman’s flag.

Alloa grew into the game and Zanatta almost made an immediate impact on his debut, running from close the halfway line before his shot was saved by Mark Ridgers.

But Caley Thistle did take the lead after ten minutes played. Polworth’s fine delivery from a corner found McKay arriving late at the back post, and he bulleted a header beyond Neil Parry.

They almost had a second three minutes later when Oakley found Walsh, who could only spoon the ball over the bar with the goal gaping.

Jake Hastie was proving a good outlet down the left for Alloa and had a good chance to haul his side level when a Scott Taggart cross was only half-cleared, but the Motherwell loanee got right under the shot as he fired over the bar.

The home side were still dangerous and Oakley slipped a lovely ball through to Polworth, only for the midfielder to slice his effort wide.

Oakley was in the thick of the action again, getting on the end of Walsh’s chipped cross, but his header was kept out by a terrific save from Parry.

And Alloa would punish the home side’s profligacy with a leveller ten minutes before the break. Flannigan’s teasing free kick caused havoc in the box, and from Andy Graham’s header, Oakley inadvertently directed the ball past Ridgers.

However, the Wasps got the second half off to the worst possible start as they were reduced to ten men and fell behind in one fell swoop.

Having just been booked for a foul on Oakley, Karadachki was shown a second yellow for a foul on Donaldson in the box from the resulting free kick.

Welsh stepped up and confidently dispatched the penalty to restore the home side’s advantage.

The visitors didn’t let their heads drop and Taggart was not far away with a shot from distance which just sailed over Ridgers’ bar.

The second half was a dull affair but with 20 minutes to play, the hosts were handed a chance to stretch their lead when Adam Brown felled Ricky Calder in the box. With Welsh having already departed the scene, Donaldson stepped up, but the centre-back’s effort crashed back off the crossbar.

Caley Thistle began to turn the screw, and Taggart had to make a crucial intervention to stop Jordan White reaching Walsh’s low cross.

Parry was called into action again in the closing minutes, making a spectacular save to keep out Aaron Doran’s stinging drive.

And he came out on top again in the next battle between the pair, rushing out quickly to block the Irishman’s shot in a one-on-one, before he made another spectacular save to deny White.

Just as it looked as though the game was beyond the Wasps, they were awarded a penalty of their own. Hastie’s driving run was brought to a halt when Shaun Rooney barged him over, and the referee pointed to the spot.

Flannigan’s penalty was too good for Ridgers, and the Wasps were level with just moments to play in their search for their first Championship point.

The Wasps could even have won it in stoppage time, but Zanatta’s tame shot was held by Ridgers when he really should have played in Burt.

From that point onwards it was a case of seeing the game out, which Alloa did comfortably to pick up their first point of the season.

  • ALLOA: Parry, Taggart, Dick, Graham, Hetherington (Burt, 78'), Cawley (Brown, 65'), Spence (Peggie, 49'), Flannigan, Hastie, Karadachki, Zanatta. UNUSED SUBS: Henry, Trouten, Goodwin.