FOR those of us who have the pleasure of watching Alloa every week, their tag as ‘tough to beat’ has always felt a little disingenuous.

Rather than sitting in and waiting to be put out of their misery by the big boys in this cutthroat division, the Wasps have, time and time again, proven they are more than a match for anyone at playing on the front foot.

Instead, it’s at the other end where their problems repeatedly lie and their habit of losing cheap goals once again lost them a match in which they deserved at least a point.

A Jordan McGhee first half header and Mark Waddington’s strike after barely a minute of the second half ultimately rendered Connor Shields’ equaliser meaningless.

Worryingly, it is now three league games in a row in which the Wasps have ended the day pointless themselves as they dropped back into the relegation playoff zone for the first time since before Christmas.

In a week of talking points, plenty were to be found inside the Recs as news arrived of a couple of contentious selections in the Alloa lineup. Jordan Kirkpatrick was on the left as Iain Flannigan partnered Steven Hetherington, while Liam Dick dropped out altogether and Jon Robertson kept his place at left back.

Less contentious, however, was the welcome return of Aberdeen’s Sam Roscoe next to Andy Graham.

For the 1,500 Falkirk fans or so who had made the short journey, their team was almost unrecognisable from the previous fixtures between the sides. The cheque book at the Falkirk Stadium must have been feeling the strain of another busy transfer window.

From the off in this fiery dogfight, you could almost grasp the nerves from both sets of players who knew there was so much more on the line than a mere three points. Passes went astray, players lost the flight of the ball, and moves broke down with an alarming regularity for both managers.

However, it was Falkirk who grabbed the early advantage as they pounced on some charitable defending by the Wasps.

After a move broke down, Falkirk swarmed forward on the counter as the Alloa rearguard retreated. The initial ball into the box was cleared by Graham, but fell to the feet of Zak Rudden. His cross to the back stick was nodded home by the onrushing McGhee, who got the better of Robertson.

To his credit Robertson played a vital role in the quick retaliation from the home side. His ball over the top found Zanatta’s brilliant run and the Canadian’s cut back from the left was powered home by Shields.

Zanatta, whose form had undoubtedly waned in recent weeks, was in the mood here. The lively Canadian was proving too clever for William Edjenguele and Ciaran McKenna and even before his hand in the goal had forced the former into a desperate block.

Half time arrived as a blessing for the suddenly beleaguered Bairns who were grateful for Ciaran McKenna’s clearance off the line from Edjenguele’s sliced clearance on the stroke of the break.

A blessing Ray McKinnon’s men took full advantage within seconds of the restart as Waddington put Falkirk ahead. Again, Alloa’s defending, and in particular Scott Taggart’s, was extremely generous.

The Bairns now had Alloa in the corner and, without ever truly threatening Neil Parry, were by far the better side for worryingly long spells. Rudden in particular proved a handful for Roscoe and Graham, although they stood up to the challenge of the Rangers’ loanee.

Paul Paton sent a hooked effort over, Ross McLean blasted high and wide, Roscoe superbly blocked Rudden as he moved to strike, and the two later became embroiled in a spat as the defender accused the forward of diving in the box.

Could Alloa find a way to fight back once more? Taggart sent a rasping drive inches wide of the post on the hour mark and substitute Jack Hamilton sliced the ball wayward from 12 yards out at the death.

As the ball trickled into Harry Burgoyne’s arms, any last hopes of another Alloa fightback went with it.