ALLOA bounced back from Saturday’s heavy defeat in style as they put three past Stenhousemuir in their first competitive win of the season.

The lineup was similar to the side that faced Stirling Albion – with a notable exception being the introduction of new signing Tochukwu Ogayi starting in goals.

Ogayi set up behind a back three of Josh McKay, Morgyn Neill and Josh Debayo, the three centre backs that started against Stirling.

Stephen Buchanan and Cammy O’Donnell started as wingbacks around Steven Hetherington and Kurtis Roberts, the midfield partnership who excelled against St Johnstone on Saturday.

Stefan Scougall rounded off the midfield in an attacking role behind a strike partnership of Bradley Rodden and Conor Sammon.

Adam Brown scored for Stenhousemuir just before the half hour mark, with Buchanan responding just ten minutes later to level the score with his first goal for his childhood club.

A further goal from Conor Sammon and a first competitive goal for Morgyn Neill put the visitors 3-1 up, earning themselves their first competitive win of the 2023/24 season.

Rice praised his team for bouncing back sharply after the defeat to St Johnstone, lauding Alloa’s “real character.”

“This was a local derby,” Rice told Advertiser Sport. “We want competitive games now that we’re getting closer to the start of the season.

“My sole aim was to come here and I wanted a reaction from Saturday – I thought we played well on Saturday.

“The scoreline will suggest otherwise but I thought the performance was good.

“Tonight, I knew it was going to be tough coming here but I wanted to see if we could dig it out. We went behind but we showed real character to come back and win the match.”

The match tonight featured a debut for latest Wasps signing Tochukwu Ogayi, who lined up in goal ahead of PJ Morrison and Keir Burt.

Ogayi had featured in training throughout pre-season after coming in as a trialist from Ukranian Second League side Kakhovka.

Ogayi made several impressive saves and looks to be very comfortable between the sticks – just one instance of miscommunication leading to the Stenhousemuir goal the only mark on an otherwise solid performance.

Rice added: “He came in to do his pre-season training with us. He arrived in the country and he’s local so we invited him in and he did okay.

“He got an injury in one of the bounce games in a warm up and he hasn’t had much game time, only about 45 minutes game time so I thought it was an opportunity tonight to play him and have a look at him.

“He’s got some good attributes – he’s got a good size, got good strength about him and he kicks the ball well.

“He needs games, he hasn’t played in a wee while. He’s a good lad and he fits in well with the rest of the squad, he’s signed a contract so it’s up to him now.”

Stephen Buchanan recorded a personal milestone as he scored Alloa’s equaliser and his first goal for the club.

The youngster signed for Alloa’s U13s squad just over eight years ago, making his breakthrough into the first team last season.

“This was his first goal for the club,” Rice continued. “He deserved it, his performance last week against Stirling Albion was his best performance for the club.

“Tonight, he did really well. He’s quick, direct, he just needs to get a bit of confidence about him because he’s got a lot of good attributes.

“It was a test for him tonight but he’s come through it.”

Next up for the Wasps is the final Viaplay Cup group stage match against Ayr United, which will see a reunion with former Alloa defender George Stanger.

Stanger left the club at the end of last season, signing with the Championship outfit and scoring in their cup match against St Johnstone.

Ayr have a chance to top the group with a win over Alloa, while a loss could result in Premiership side St Johnstone qualifying automatically for the next stage.

“We’ll be raring to go for Ayr on Saturday,” Rice added. “Good game to be played in Ayr, I’ve not been to Somerset Park for a long time.

“It’s been developed a little bit, the pitch is usually really good and it’s a game I’m looking forward to.

“Ayr United can win the group so there’s lots to play for.”