THERE is no love lost between Alloa and Hearts and with the teams meeting for the third time this season on Saturday, it was the Edinburgh side who took the three points.

After being demolished in the first half of the first meeting between the two teams at Tynecastle, Alloa welcomed Hearts to the Indodrill and got their revenge by knocking them out of the Betfred Cup.

On Saturday, it was Hearts who came looking for revenge.

Boasting a strong, experienced starting line-up with a dangerous bench that included recent signing Gary Mackay-Steven, the title hopefuls didn’t get off to the best start.

The visitors struggled to get into a rhythm. Peter Grant made several changes to his starting line-up and Robert Thomson showed exactly what he brings to the team. Andy Graham’s long ball was controlled well by the striker and he cushioned it off to Kevin Cawley.

As the game went on, Hearts must have been thinking there was two Steven Hetheringtons on the pitch. Every time a pass wasn’t perfect or a first touch was loose, the midfielder was onto it, winning the ball back and retaining possession.

The first real chance of the match fell to Hearts when Craig Halkett decided to step forward with the ball. After driving into Alloa’s half, he passed it out wide and continued his run into the box. The defender jumped well to get on the end of the cross and headed it just wide of Neil Parry’s post.

Just after the half hour mark, Hearts took the lead. Parry managed to get something on a corner and got it out the box but it landed at Andy Irving’s feet. He rolled the ball onto his left foot and rifled it past a diving Parry.

Ten minutes later, Hearts doubled their lead seconds before half-time to give Alloa a real mountain to climb. Jamie Walker and Jordan Roberts combined on the edge of the box before Walker floated a cross to the back post and Elliott Frear managed to volley the ball past Parry.

Young Lucas Williamson had a solid first half at left-back and was to be tested in the second against Mackay-Steven who came off the bench. Williamson was judged to have pulled Hearts’ latest signing back and was shown a yellow card.

The best chances of the second half seemed to be falling Walker’s way but he couldn’t make the most of them. First, it was Andy Halliday’s floated ball that Walker volleyed first-time over the bar. He then decided to let another ball bounce before hitting it just wide of Parry’s post.

With less than 10 minutes to go, Williamson received his second yellow card and was sent off. Following the flight of Halliday’s cross-field ball to Mackay-Steven, Williamson never took his eye off the ball and in the process ran into Mackay-Steven, sending him tumbling to the ground.

There was clearly no malice intended by the young defender and he can consider himself extremely unfortunate to be sent off. It should take nothing away from the fact the 17-year-old started against the title favourites and didn’t look out of place.

Despite being two goals and a man down, Alloa continued to push forward and minutes after the sending off, they got their reward.

Hearts failed to clear an Alloa free kick and Nicky Jamieson managed to get a toe on the ball to roll it back to Jon Robertson. The right-back’s first-time ball found Cawley at the back post and he managed to head the ball back across goal and past Craig Gordon.

Hearts were happy to soak up the pressure and wait for their moment to counter. Mackay-Steven managed to break down the right wing and cut it back to Walker, who managed to shoot on goal. The shot looked soft but Parry spilled it and Liam Boyce put it in the net before being judged offside.

Two minutes into extra-time, Mackay-Steven fouled Cawley and gave Alloa one last chance. Parry was ordered up to make up the numbers; however, the free kick was cleared and the ball fell to Josh Ginnelly. Fresh off the bench, he fancied his chances against Hetherington and knocked the ball past him before racing through to an empty net to make it 3-1.

Alloa had a mountain to climb when the second goal went in before half-time, and the summit got a little further away after Williamson saw red. However, they never gave up and showed real desire to get back into the game.

Elsewhere in the Championship, Arbroath and Queen of the South shared a point to keep the bottom of the table tight and now Alloa travel to Inverness.

Peter Grant’s men haven’t lost at Inverness in their last two games and will go one point behind them with a win on Saturday.

ALLOA: Parry, Robertson, Jamieson, Graham, Williamson, Hetherington, Grant, Cawley, Scougall (Buchanan), Murray (Brown), Thomson (Evans). UNUSED SUBS: Wright, Connelly, O’Donnell, Lynch