Wasps inflict first defeat of season on the Doonhamers to reignite title race
Alloa Athletic .........1 Queen of the South ........0
McCord Pen 57'
On Tuesday evening at Recreation Park, the Wasps showed exactly why they are one of the favourites for a place in Division One next season.
Leaders Queen of the South arrived at Recreation Park after 13 games undefeated in the league and after a thriller of a match, fell for the first time this season to an Alloa team who had only one thing on their mind - victory.
A solid defence, cultured midfield and troublesome front-line meant the Wasps were able to formulate a well-merited victory which underlined their intention to keep firing on all cylinders for a promotion place.
The fixture, which had been postponed four days earlier following a pitch inspection, would have attracted a big crowd normally but a bitter cold frosty evening meant the attendance was restricted.
But no doubt there were many armchair supporters waiting anxiously at home for this result to be announced - so the Alloa fans were not disappointed.
Paul Hartley's boys knew they had to play their very best to win this one, because any slip-ups would mean the Doonhamers would head back home with a 14th league game without defeat to their credit.
However, they were also aware how good Alloa can be. This result extends the Wasps' undefeated run to seven games, an impressive list prior to Christmas.
A 5-2 victory over the Wasps in the League Cup on 4 August may have looked good but in the next meeting Alloa were a more forceful side and a 1-0 win for QoS suggested the Wasps were playing well and looking good.
So last Tuesday's victory, courtesy of a Ryan McCord penalty-kick was no more than the Wasps deserved.
Both sides had hit the woodwork before this home victory was wrapped up but the story of the evening was not only the result. It was the good football both clubs served up to convince both sets of fans that Division 1 football is for them.
Queens were on the move early on but Gavin Reilly's early try for goal was cleared by Ben Gordon. The former Rangers youth player saw his second chance inside the box, but this time Jason Marr cleared.
Mark Docherty the Alloa left-back knocked the ball back to his keeper in five mintes which looked the safest choice but Scott Bain had to scramble the ball clear as striker Reilly closed in.
The visitors looked eager for a goal but when Dan Carmichael ran on for an accurate Willie Gibson pass, he was unable to finish inside the box.
Martin Grehan managed to dispossess Mark Durnan to put the Wasps into a good position but Queens managed to clear the danger.
Ryan McCord also worried the visiting defence after running in for a Cawley lovely pass but could not get past Durnan just outside the area.
As the Doonhamers contined to look good on the ball, James Doyle conceded a corner from Carmichael which Marr cleared in the Alloa box.
With 14 minutes Alloa appeared to have opened the scoring. McCord released the dangerous Cawley just inside the area but he drove against the right post before keeper Lee Robinson saved.
A quick counter-attack saw keeper Bain punch out a right-winger corner at the other end but the Wasps were soon back searching.
This time hard working Darren Young shot against two Queens' defenders 12 yards from goal, the ball coming back into Robinson's arms.
However the visitors almost opened the scoring in 21 minutes with a fierce 30 yard drive from Paul Burns which rebounded off the bar, the rebound driven over the top by by Nicky Clark.
Gibson then saw his shot deflected for a corner before Marr defended well, heading out an effort by Queens man Chris Mitchell.
The pace was hot now from both sides and, with 27 minutes gone Burns of Queens was stretchered off injured, to be replaced by Dumfries boy Kevin Holt.
When the visitors were applying some stronger pressure towards the interval, Clark seemed to have found an opening but Gordon stopped him inside the Alloa area.
Gibson found Ryan McGuffie clear on the right but his deep,dangerous cross ball was cut out by Bain.
Again Gibson opened up the Alloa defence with a free-kick to the box but Chris Higgins' effort was deflected over the bar for a corner and cleared.
But Alloa were also looking sharper now as McCord, Young and Cawley used the ball well.
Nicky Low - on loan from Aberdeen - was becoming more effective for the Wasps but disappointed to see his low right wing cross scooped up quickly by Robinson.
Just before the break a Mark Durnan header was cleared off the Alloa line with the visitors perhaps just edging it in the first period.
In the second half the pace was just as hot with Alloa surviving when Doyle lost the ball in his own half but neither Clark nor Reilly could capitalise.
Clark in fact, almost did open the scoring in 49 minutes but his header was touched over the bar by Bain.
Five minutes later, with the visitors still on the hunt, Durnan headed a Gibson corner just past the left post.
Alloa were soon moving well with Low much more involved, to bring out a low save from Robinson after coming in dangerously from the left.
With 58 minutes gone the Wasps managed to score the deciding goal after striker Martin Grehan was fouled inside the box by Ryan McGuffie.
McCord stepped up and tucked the ball past Robinson from the penalty spot, at the right corner.
Queens could have been level three minutes later when Reilly blasted a Clark cross off the bar then Clark's 12 yard shot was saved by the diving Bain.
Wasps were now looking for a second goal but Gordon headed Low's cross past the right post before Cawley sent another Low cross out at the right corner.
Substitute David Hopkirk squeezed past Doyle's challenge to bring out a fine save from Bain then in the last raid of the evening Alloa's Low brought keeper Robinson down to save at the right corner, ending an excellent game of open football.
ALLOA. - Bain, Doyle, Docherty, Gordon, Marr, Young, Cawley, Ryan McCord, Grehan (Thomson 72), Holmes (Tapping 59), Low. Subs. not used: Ross McCord, Simmons, McDowall.
QUEEN OF THE SOUTH. - Robinson, Mitchell, McGuffie, Durnan, Higgins, Burns (Holt 28), Gibson (Smith 76), McKenna, Reilly (Hopkirk 87), Clark, Carmichael. Subs. not used: Black, Atkinson.
Referee. - Brian Colvin.
This article appeared in Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser 12 Dec 12
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