TAYLOR STEVEN’S superb curling goal was enough to earn Alloa their second consecutive win over rivals Stirling Albion.

Andy Graham made only one change from last week’s 3-2 win over Annan, with Jon Robertson making his first start since last April to slot in as right back.

Dave McKay was absent from the squad, allowing Scott Taggart to move from his usual position in right back to centre half.

Taylor Steven proved himself to be a menace to Stirling’s back line from the first whistle, chasing a wonderfully lofted ball from Miko Virtanen but unable to find the accuracy in his lob over Stirling’s Blair Currie.

Stirling had a couple half chances that they wasted, with PJ Morrison largely untested throughout the first half.

Alloa broke the deadlock 10 minutes into the second half, as Kurtis Roberts drove forward with the ball on a mazy run before passing to Jon Robertson.

Robertson played in Taylor Steven, who cut inside and sent a brilliant curled effort past Currie to give Alloa the lead.

This proved to be the only goal of the derby, but was enough to seal a vital three points ahead of a meeting with Annan on Tuesday.

“Really good result,” Graham said. “It wasn’t the best performance, we’ve played a lot better than that and the boys know that.

“But in a derby team against a Stirling side that came into it, take away the Montrose game, on a really good run of form, I’m delighted to get three points.

“The boys really dug in during the last 5, 10 minutes and they had to as Stirling put us under a lot of pressure.

“I felt if we were a bit more clinical on the break, we could’ve wrapped it up with another goal but I said to them at half time – no matter what happens, come in here with three points – and they’ve delivered that.

“I’m happy with that.”

Today’s goal was Taylor Steven’s second in two games, with the St Johnstone youngster scoring Alloa’s third in Annan last week.

The technique was one Steven had been fond of in recent games, cutting in on his left and firing a curling effort through the air, this time paying off in spectacular fashion.

This now puts the Saints loanee on three goals for the Wasps and has been the product of weeks of hard work and progress he has been putting into the team.

Graham continued: “It was a really good goal, not just the finish but the move before it was really good and that’s what we wanted more of.

“We know they are capable of that and that was the frustrating thing that that didn’t happen a lot more in the way that they passed the ball.

“We’ve done really well to work it to the wide area and Taylor’s done really well to cut in and curl it into the top corner.

“Taylor’s doing well, he’s improving every week and that’s what you look for in young players – gradual improvement and if he continues to do that, absolutely [he has a bright future].”

The derby also featured an appearance on the bench for Reece Mullen, who had previously been an unused substitute against Falkirk.

Mullen is a midfielder who has come up through Alloa’s youth setup, appearing in a bounce game against Clyde a few weeks ago.

Graham explained that the youngster has been training with the first team, with Mullen hoping to continue to improve and make a debut soon.

“Reece has done really well,” Graham added. “He’s been up training with us for three months now and the improvement in him has been very good.

“That’s something we look to continue with him - he did well in a bounce game against Clyde and he continues to impress.

“They all have to come in, work hard during training and improve small bits of their game and they’ll hopefully get game time on Saturday but Reece has done really well.”

Alloa currently sit in fifth place after today’s result but have a huge chance to leap frog into third, should they beat Annan on Tuesday.

Annan visit the Indodrill for the rescheduled game, initially set to be played in December, on the back of a last minute winner against Hamilton.

“The focus now goes to Tuesday,” Graham said. “A lot of people were saying we had to get nine points out of nine at home.

“That was a lot of nonsense, it was three points today because you can’t get nine if you don’t get three today.

“The focus now turns to Tuesday, we’ll not even be thinking about Saturday, we’ll take things one game at a time and see where that takes us.”

ALLOA XI: Morrison, Robertson, Taggart, Neill, Sutherland (Roy), Virtanen, Roberts, Scougall (O'Donnell), Coulson (Buchanan), Steven (Donnelly), Wales.