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


Scottish League One

ALLOA moved up to third in League One with a hard-fought victory over playoff rivals Stranraer at the Indodrill Stadium.

Ross Stewart was the man of the moment on his debut as he scored the only goal to hand his side three points.

Alloa came into this battle between third and fourth knowing they had the opportunity to climb above their opponents with a victory.

Jim Goodwin handed new signing Stewart his debut after Kevin Cawley was ruled out with illness, while Iain Flannigan returned in place of Craig Malcolm.

The first half was devoid of quality, but Neil Parry was tested on a couple of occasions by Ryan Wallace, before Angus Beith had a goal disallowed.

In the opening moments of the second half, Renton saw a header well-saved by Cameron Belford, with PJ Crossan just failing to reach the rebound as he followed in.

Jamie Hamill’s tame free kick failed to seriously test Parry, but at the other end, Belford had to work much harder, pulling off another good stop to keep out Renton.

Three minutes before the hour mark though, the Wasps took the lead. Flannigan’s free kick bamboozled Belford, who could only palm the ball onto the crossbar, and Stewart pounced to net on his debut and give his new side the advantage.

It was then Alloa’s turn to have a goal disallowed when Andy Graham turned the ball home having come back from an offside position.

Parry was called into action again when Grant Anderson rose highest to head towards goal, the stopper keeping out the winger’s looping effort.

Flannigan drew a wonderful save from Belford, who clawed the midfielder’s shot away with a fine reaction stop.

At the other end, Parry excelled when faced with another Hamill free kick, getting down low to his left to push it round the post.

Stranraer huffed and puffed in the closing stages as they looked to find a leveller, and Alloa hearts were in mouths when Morgyn Neill, playing as an auxiliary striker, raced through, but Parry was strong once again and made a good save.

After that, the Wasps defence held firm as they recorded a valuable win to kick off the busy festive period, and continue their good recent form with their seventh victory in nine games in all competitions.

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