IN the heat of the relegation battle, the finest of margins can be the difference between points won or lost.

Unfortunately for Steven Hetherington, it was a single inch which did the damage as Scott McDonald’s winner - a wonderfully struck free kick - agonisingly evaded the Englishman en route to ending up in the back of Neil Parry’s net.

The Australian’s quality was enough to drag Alloa back into the relegation scrap and leave Hetherington and his teammates looking nervously over their shoulders with only two games remaining.

“If I was an inch taller, I’d have blocked it as it hit the top of my head,” Hetherington said as he was speaking to Advertiser Sport following the game.

“I actually didn’t think it was a free kick and said to the referee. I thought the lad just ran into him and not sure where Jon Robertson was supposed to go.

“You see with the changes they made at half time and they were good players who made a difference.

“They were able to spend some money to recruit, which we obviously couldn’t.”

The Wasps had started the game brightly and taken the lead when Jack Aitchison, on loan from Celtic, scored his first goal for the Wee County side.

But, much like against Falkirk where Alloa were hit moments after the break, the same fate befell them when Joe Cardle - a half time substitute - levelled the contest.

While admitting his disappointment in the fatal start to the second half, Hetherington was unable to put his finger on why history had repeated itself.

He added: “We are disappointed and thought we started the game pretty well. We had a game plan to get in behind them and use the ball well when we did get it.

“We did that in the first half and were getting into the right positions with Jack (Aitchison), Connor (Shields) and Dario (Zanatta), so it was pretty much game plan done.

“We said at half time to go out and do the same again but then we gave them a goal straightaway.

“No team intends to go out and concede a goal in the second half.

“They obviously kicked off and had the ball already. I don’t know what the reason is and we need to look at what to do to avoid it.”

Alloa host Inverness on Saturday and know a win would put them out of the reach of bottom placed Falkirk before their trip to Ayr United on the last day of the season.

The 26-year-old said: “It’s in our hands and we don’t need any favours from anybody.”