ALLOA have one foot in the Championship playoff final as they pulled off a comfortable home victory against Hamilton Academical.

A well-placed Luke Donnelly strike was enough to give the Wasps a one goal advantage over Accies heading into the away fixture on Saturday.

Alloa lined up as best they could given a wave of injuries coupled with Michael Doyle being ruled ineligible to play against his parent club.

Jay Hogarth started between the sticks, with George Stanger, David Devine and Scott Taggart making a return from injury in front of him.

Luke Strachan also made a return from injury to line up alongside Murray Miller, Adam King and Kevin Cawley in midfield.

Up top, Conor Sammon was the centre of the attack, with Ross MacIver and Quinn Coulson alongside him.

Hamilton started off strongly, keeping the Wasps under pressure, but Alloa quickly grew into the game and started challenging the visitors.

A scare came early on as Adam King collapsed on the pitch, with Accies boss John Rankin first to notice, sending a fleet of physios out to treat him.

King remained down for a number of minutes, before being stretchered off to be treated off the pitch, replaced by Luke Donnelly.

Speaking after the match, Rice assured that King looked like he would be okay and was receiving proper assessment.

“He’s away to get checked out,” Rice explained. “We don’t know what’s happened but he’s away to the local hospital.

“It looked very serious at the time, when I came in at half time, he was sitting up in the physio’s room.

“He’ll be under investigation at the at the hospital and we’ll just take it from there. I’m just glad to see that he was conscious and he was sitting up.”

Donnelly replaced King and went on to break the deadlock between the two sides. Quinn Coulson built up to the goal before passing it to MacIver, who dinked it over to Donnelly.

Rice commended his team for showing great determination despite concern for King.

He said: “It’s obviously on all our minds but when the game restarts, you’ve got to try and focus and get on with your job.

“I thought they did magnificently tonight, I just said to them in there ‘that’s a monumental effort for a part-time team’.

“The boys have been working, no time to recover and yet we played some really good stuff. We could’ve been a bit more composed on the ball but I can’t ask anything more from them, effort wise.

“They’re giving me absolutely everything and I’m proud of them.”

Alloa had control of the ball after the break and defended well despite growing Accies pressure. Accies searched hard for a way back into the match but the back three showed great strength to clear the ball away from danger.

The Wasps had a chance to go two up as Quinn Coulson went on a superb run from his own half to dribble past the defence, only for his shot to hit the crossbar.

“These things happen,” Rice added. “Don’t forget Hamilton hit the bar in the first half as well.

“I think we were worthy winners of the game tonight – John [Rankin] might have his own opinion with that but like I say, I couldn’t be any prouder of them tonight.

Alloa were dealt another unfortunate injury blow as Luke Strachan limped off the pitch, replaced by Cameron O’Donnell.

The Wasps have been plagued by injuries all season and it seems the playoffs will be no exception, with a whole host of players now unavailable for the return leg.

Rice went on to explain he was unsure who, if any, would be able to make Saturday’s all important fixture, as Alloa hope to secure a place in the playoff final.

He said: “I don’t know, I really don’t know. It’s not ideal with Strachan coming off and King having his moment there as well.

“It’ll just be a case of coming in on Thursday now, recover and see who is available for Saturday.

“But I know one thing: whoever puts that jersey on on Saturday will give us everything. Win, lose or draw, they’ll give us everything.

“Hopefully, we can go and do the job but it’s just another game.”

Alloa face Hamilton in the second leg of the Championship playoffs at New Douglas Park on Saturday, with a one goal cushion putting them ahead on aggregate.