NOBODY really knows what the next twelve months will bring, but on this evidence Alloa are determined to stick around in the Championship for the long haul.

For the fifth time this season, Jim Goodwin's Wasps lined up against Dundee United and for the first time they emerged victorious in the 90 to move four points clear of Partick Thistle.

There's no doubting Dundee United are a much-improved outfit since the late summer days of Csaba Lazlo's doomed reign and they dominated much of this fiery encounter in Clackmannanshire.

Last ditch and desperate is not a phrase you could bestow on Alloa's defending too often this season, but, as Dundee United ran them ragged, it seemed rather apt.

For so long, Alloa kept the full timers at bay until Callum Booth stepped up in the 58th minute and fired an unstoppable free kick beyond the reach of Neil Parry.

But Alloa are a team who can surprise anyone in this crazy division and no one was more surprised than Andy Graham when he popped up to equalise with a bullet header against the run of play.

The Wasps were not finished, either. With the game in its dying embers, the in-form Dario Zanatta fooled the whole United backline with a sensational solo run before slotting cooly past Benjamin Siegrist showing to secure a vital three points in the relegation dogfight.

In many ways, this engaging and hard-fought win was a timely reminder that, for all of the good they are capable of conjuring up, this is remains a league where Alloa are forever having to play above their station to stay competitive.

For large parts of the game, Robbie Neilson's side pinned Alloa in their own half with an iron grip on possession. The Wasps' plight was hindered with pre-match news of the influential Iain Flannigan missing out due to a back problem.

Steven Hetherington and Jon Robertson worked hard in his absence, crunching into tackles and putting their bodies on the line, but they sorely lacked the composure or quality to take control of the midfield tussle as Dundee United dominated.

However, other than Booth's fantastic strike, United never truly threatened Neil Parry's goal despite their domination. Paul McMullan had a few testing efforts and substitute Fraser Aird nodded wide, but between them Graham and Sam Roscoe headed, cleared, and blocked everything else.

On the one occasion the pair failed to clear their lines, Parry was there to come to the rescue. He had pulled off a stunning stop in last weekend's win over Queen of the South and again he used all of his 6ft 4" frame to keep the Wasps in the game this weekend.

A cross from the right by Stewart Murdoch was nodded on by Craig Curran and somehow the former Airdrie man got fingertips on it to divert it onto the post. He will have been delighted to see Graham hook the ball away for a corner and how crucial it proved to be in the end.

While they could do nothing about Booth's quality free kick that broke the deadlock, it was a lead that lasted barely 20 minutes as stalwart Graham nodded home for what seemed an implausible point.

An implausible point that became three when Zanatta slotted home at the death, before ripping his shirt off and wheeling towards the raucous Alloa bench in celebration.

Will 2019 bring Championship survival for the Wasps? Whatever happens, you can be sure they won't go down without a fight.