Raith Rovers.....................2
Alloa Athletic....................1

Scottish League One

ALLOA were undone by two former players as they were beaten by Raith Rovers last Saturday.

Greig Spence and Liam Buchanan both netted for the hosts as they extended their advantage over their playoff rivals to 11 points.

Kevin Cawley’s late consolation was not enough to salvage a point for the visitors despite a brave performance.

The result was harsh on the Wasps, who had dominated much of the first half and saw a penalty claim waved away before the interval.

Manager Jim Goodwin named an unchanged starting lineup for the seventh week in a row, despite his side’s last-gasp defeat to Ayr a week ago.

The Wasps’ ranks were boosted by the return of Frank McKeown after several weeks out injured, although the centre-back was only fit enough for a place on the bench.

The fourth-placed visitors came into the game with the aim of eating into the eight-point cushion of their hosts in second.

Former Alloa stars Spence and Buchanan both started up front for the home side, who were looking to close the gap between themselves and leaders Ayr.

Alloa made most of the early running and got a lot of joy down the left flank, where PJ Crossan had the beating of Jamie Watson.

The Celtic loanee was causing Rovers a number of issues with his pace, and he regularly got in behind in the opening stages, only being denied by some good last-ditch defending.

One run in particular saw the teenager drive into space in the box and drill the ball across the face of goal. It was just begging to be tucked away and any touch at all would have led to the opener, but nobody in a black and gold shirt was able to get on the end of it.

Buchanan has made a habit of scoring against his former club since leaving in 2015, and he looked sharp once again. He produced a jinking run as he looked to make his way into the box, but when he shaped to shoot his attack was snuffed out by several Alloa defenders.

Dario Zanatta fired wide from the edge of the box to give the visitors another fright, his shot missing Neil Parry’s left-hand post by a matter of inches.

The Raith fans were incensed when Steven Hetherington clattered into Lewis Vaughan just outside the centre-circle, feeling that the Alloa man had committed a foul, but the referee rightly waved play on as the midfielder had won the ball despite it being an industrious challenge.

The visitors thought they had a penalty five minutes before the interval when Crossan burst into the box from the left yet again and went down under the challenge of Euan Murray, but the referee instead opted to show the youngster a yellow card for diving.

It seemed a harsh decision, particularly as the Alloa man had a clear sight of goal and had no reason to go down. It did appear as though his heels were clipped as Murray ran behind him, but the Wasps’ protests were in vain as they were denied a golden chance to take the lead.

Rovers started the second half much more brightly and Buchanan had a golden chance to give his side the lead moments after the break. Bobby Barr beat the offside trap, rounded Parry and squared for his team-mate, who could only blaze his shot over the crossbar as Scott Taggart applied the pressure.

However, barely five minutes later the hosts did have their goal and it was Buchanan’s strike partner Spence who showed him how it was done. Zanatta’s cross from the left was perfect, and Spence rose highest to power home his header and open the scoring.

That sparked a spell of increased pressure from Raith, and Murray and Buchanan both had good chances to get on the scoresheet within a couple of minutes.

But 25 minutes from time the ex-Alloa favourite would finally get his goal. Lewis Vaughan was played in after a lovely passage of play, and although Parry made an excellent save to deny him, Buchanan was on hand to slide home the rebound.

The Wasps at least had something to show for their efforts four minutes from the end when they got a consolation. Iain Flannigan’s corner hit the post and rebounded in off Cawley for his 50th Alloa goal.

Despite some late pressure, the visitors could not mount a comeback as Rovers held out to extend their advantage in second and consign Alloa to a second successive defeat.

ALLOA: Parry, Taggart, Crane, Graham, Fleming (Renton), Robertson, Cawley, Hetherington, Malcolm, Crossan (Martin), Flannigan. UNUSED SUBS: Cook, McKeown, Hoggan, Cunningham, Wilson.