JIM GOODWIN strode onto the pitch, passed his Wee County titans and lifted his fist in celebration to the Alloa support.

They obliged with wild celebration as they showered their heroes in song.

Whatever happens in the summer, Goodwin has sealed his place in Alloa history and pulled off one of the finest feats of David v Goliath in modern times.

Rank outsiders and derided by so many before a ball was kicked in anger, they have made a habit of proving their doubters wrong from the very first game.

To those who said they would do well to beat Brechin’s points tally from last year, the Wasps provided the perfect retort by the end of October.

To those who then believed they would eventually fall away, and that it would come down to Falkirk and Partick Thistle in the race to beat the drop, Alloa replied time and time again.

When they were cut adrift as recently as March, many had even begun to write their Championship obituary only for Goodwin’s boys to go on one of the league’s best winning run of the season and make survival a distinct possibility.

Saturday’s draw with Ayr United may have been nervy at the death, but for large spells of the match the Wasps took the game to the home side and were unfortunate not to secure their safety in less excruciating fashion.

Connor Shields scored his third goal of the season with a fine first half strike to send Alloa on their way, only for Lawrence Shankland to fire past Neil Parry shortly after and make the rest of the game a gut-wrenching experience.

But, despite Ayr’s valiant attempts to force the issue, Alloa refused to wilt and put their bodies on the line time and time again.

If there was a blade of grass untouched by Iain Flannigan and Stevie Hetherington, it wasn’t for the want of trying.

Flannigan’s composure, poise, and vision on the ball frequently got Alloa out of tricky situations, while Hetherington’s drive, reading of the game, and relentless tackling stifled Ayr’s attacking intent at every opportunity.

The Wasps were often the team in the ascendancy and should arguably have been leading by a more comfortable margin when Shankland levelled.

Long before Shields had picked the ball up from Kevin Cawley, drove into the box and fired past Ross Doohan, Alloa had set out to win the game in the same manner that’s served them so well all season.

Dario Zanatta was, as he so often is, the spark down the left hand side and the Canadian sent a rasping drive wide on the quarter of an hour mark to signal his intent and earlier forced Doohan into a fine save at the back post.

But, he really should have been celebrating the opener and will likely be thanking his lucky stars that his miss will long be forgotten in amongst the celebrations.

After Shields broke down the right hand side, his ball across the face evaded everyone before falling to Zanatta at the back post who hit the bar with only Doohan to beat.

Shields was having his best game in an Alloa shirt and, as well as his goal, he headed a dangerous Jon Robertson cross narrowly past the post. Andy Graham’s header suffered the same fate not long after.

Veteran Graham was a rock beside Scott Taggart and cleared countless balls into the Alloa box away from danger. Graham’s body might be beaten, playing with the sort of injuries that would reduce most of us to tears, but his spirit was undoubted from the first minute.

In many ways, he dragged Alloa through this game when Ayr began to threaten in the second half, but it was still Alloa who had the better of the chances.

Zanatta turned his way into the box and fizzed the ball across goal, only for it to narrowly evade Kevin Cawley and Shields, while the former tested Doohan with a stinging drive from distance as Alloa looked for a crucial winner.

As news broke of Falkirk turning defeat into victory over Ross County, you could sense the nerves from the Alloa bench; but those on the pitch stuck to their task and withstood Ayr’s efforts.

The only time they broke Alloa’s defence came near the death, but Luke McGowan mercifully put his free header into Parry’s arms.

When the final whistle blew the celebrations were loud and proud; this was a triumph for the ages.