ALLOA ATHLETIC...................0
INVERNESS CT.........................2

Scottish Championship

SOUL star Keith James once complained it wasn’t his day.

That is certainly how Peter Grant must have been feeling after watching his Alloa side’s defeat at the hands of playoff-chasers Inverness.

The Wasps boss would have fancied his side’s chances against a Highland side on a poor run of form, and on another day they would have claimed a vital three points in their battle to stay in the Championship.

But it was the visitors who made the long journey back up the A9 with a win in the bag in the wake of a game which saw very little go right for the Wee County outfit.

After a first half in which the Wasps enjoyed the bulk of the chances, there would have been few complaints if they had gone in at the break in front.

Instead, they found themselves two goals behind and with little prospect of a route back into the game, courtesy of a calamitous Scott Taggart own goal and a terrific strike from Aaron Doran.

What little hope they had left was snuffed out in the second half when Liam Dick was shown a straight red card for a tackle on James Keatings.

It was an afternoon which had started so brightly for Alloa, who looked threatening on the break early on and Kevin O’Hara proved a real handful on the right flank. He raced clear and sent a teasing ball across the face of goal, but with the net gaping, Alan Trouten could only turn his effort wide.

Trouten felt he should have had a penalty moments later when he was bundled over by Coll Donaldson, but referee Greg Aitken waved away the howls of complaint from the men clad in black and gold.

It was a case of profligacy at both ends in the opening stages, Carl Tremarco next to pass up a chance as he ghosted in at the back post and headed wide.

And as the visitors began to assert themselves, Coll Donaldson should have done better, firing over at the end of a flowing move he had started himself.

James Keatings stung the palms of Jamie MacDonald with a fierce drive from the edge of the box, while Iain Flannigan’s curling effort was tipped over by Mark Ridgers.

The Wasps were hammering away at the door and Ridgers continued to enhance his reputation as one of the division’s finest keepers with a terrific save from Trouten, tipping his shot away before Robbie Deas lashed the loose ball over.

But all of Alloa’s hard work would be undone before the end of the half and the opener was a goal of their own making. Donaldson’s long pass looked easy enough for Taggart to nod back to MacDonald, but he had failed to count on the keeper rushing out to collect it himself and ended up heading the ball into an empty net.

It was not the turn of events the home side’s play deserved as they had edged the contest in the first half but things were about to get much worse.

Former Stirling Albion striker Jordan White knocked Miles Storey’s cross into the path of Doran, and he rifled his finish into the top corner on the half-volley to add a few more yards onto the size of the uphill struggle facing the Wasps.

Things went from bad to worse for the home side when they were reduced to 10 men just before the hour mark. Dick lunged both high and late into Keatings, and despite his protestations, the reality was there was no other choice for the man in the middle.

By this point, it was damage limitation for the Wasps who were doing all they could to keep Caley Thistle at bay and prevent them from adding to their tally.

In truth that rendered the remainder of the second half something of a non-event, although the 10 men did battle gamely, particularly on the counter.

But what chances they did manage to carve out were passed up, Kevin Cawley looping a free header over the crossbar and O’Hara flashing a stinging drive wide.

Another free header fell the way of Deas, but the youngster could only send it over the crossbar as the Wasps’ hopes of taking even a consolation from the game became more and more unlikely.

And as the referee blew his final whistle, they were left to rue what was undoubtedly a chance to begin an ascent up the Championship table.

ALLOA: MacDonald, Taggart, Graham, Deas, Dick, Hetherington, Robertson, Flannigan, Trouten, Cawley, O’Hara. UNUSED SUBS: Henry, Buchanan, Thomson, O’Donnell, Gilhooly, Gillespie, Malcolm.