BRADLEY RODDEN found the net twice to start Alloa’s season with a bang, in a seven-goal thriller in Dumfries.

Alloa visited Queen of the South to kick off the 2023/24 League One campaign, with goals from Rodden, Conor Sammon and David McKay guiding the Wasps to a 4-3 victory over the Doonhammers.

Queen of the South took an early lead through Kieran McKechnie, turning around McKay and past Tochukwu Ogayi to slot it into goal.

McKay responded just a few minutes later to score against his former club, bringing Alloa equal with a cool finish into the bottom corner.

Just ten minutes later, Rodden runs through on goal and smashes one into the top corner to give Alloa the lead.

Conor Sammon was up next, latching onto a ball from Miko Virtanen to head it in and give the Wasps a two-goal lead.

Josh Todd for Queen of the South found himself clean on goal, Virtanen attempts to stop the attack but mistimes his tackle, bringing him down in the box and gifting the Doonhammers a penalty, which Gavin Reilly converts.

Rodden was hungry for more and found the net again just before half-time, silencing his critics even further.

Reilly would go on to double his goal tally after the referee gave another penalty late into the second half for handball from Scott Taggart, who made his first appearance back from injury.

Speaking to the Alloa Athletic media team after the match, Brian Rice praised his team for their “great spirit” in coming back from a goal down to see out a win on their first game of the season.

“I couldn’t have asked for any better,” Rice said. “This is a difficult place to come to at anytime.

“First game of the season, to get three points is just fantastic.

“It was a really poor decision from one of the centre halves and we lost a goal early on but we showed the character and we showed the belief to get back in the match.

“We did it, we went 3-1 up very quickly and conceded two penalties but great spirit, great desire from the boys not to get beat.

“Honestly, it was a fantastic result for us today.”

It was a huge two goals for Rodden, who had faced criticism during pre-season for his goal return but was a standout for Alloa on Saturday.

Rice was full of praise for the 26-year-old, lauding his work rate and hunger throughout the game.

“Brad knows what he needs to do to score goals,” Rice added. “He needs to work hard all the time.

“Today, he did it. He gave the back three or the back four at Queens a hard time because of his running power and his desire and he deserved his goals today.

“He could’ve had another one – little bit more composure there.

“It’s great to see him scoring again. This lad has only been in professional football a year, people shouldn’t be judging that boy.

“He comes in with a smile on his face and he works as hard as anybody else and I’m absolutely delighted for him.”

The Wasps look ahead to hosting rivals Stirling Albion at the Recs this Saturday and will be looking to come out better than last time.

Alloa faced off against Stirling in their opening match of the League Cup last month, with the Binos winning 2-1.

Rice insisted it was all about taking each game one at a time against tough competition.

“It’s not about revenge,” Rice said. “I don’t see anything like revenge.

“We had a tough game today and next week will be another tough game. This league is tough all the time – every game is tough.

“Any team can beat anybody in this league and that’s why it is so good and so competitive.

“It’s a local derby next week and we just need to make sure we’re ready, get a few injuries back.

“We’re still looking to add to the squad – people keep asking me about strikers but we scored four goals today.

“I’m still looking for strikers, everybody knows I’m looking for strikers. They’re difficult to find at part-time level.

“They’ve got to be better than what you’ve got. The work never stops but I can’t be any prouder than I am for the boys today.

“It’s a good game for the fans to watch and it’s great to get the new season going with a win.”