Pars hold on to see off Alloa
A Craig Wighton double was enough to ensure all three points stayed in Dunfermline as they saw off bottom side Alloa at East End Park this afternoon. Jake Gray reports.
The Pars were looking to get back to winning ways after a scrappy 2-0 defeat to Arbroath last time out. It was the same opposition for Alloa in their last fixture, as the Wasps grabbed a late equaliser against Dick Campbell’s side last weekend, in the only Championship fixture which survived the bad weather on Saturday.
Stevie Crawford made two changes to the side which were defeated by Arbroath. New signing Craig Wighton came in for Kevin O’Hara and Kerr McInroy dropped to the bench to be replaced by Scott Banks. Peter Grant made just one change to his Alloa side, with Stefan Scougall coming in to replace the suspended Ray Grant.
Dunfermline have found home matches against Alloa a bit of a banana skin in recent years, having not beaten the Wasps at East End Park since May of 2013. However, it was the home side who were quickest out the blocks on Saturday afternoon. Crystal Palace loanee Banks was looking lively on the right flank and in the fifth minute, he almost found the bottom left corner with an effort after cutting inside.
The Pars continued to pressure Alloa’s defence in the opening stages of the match. Neat play between Banks and Aaron Comrie allowed for a cross into the box, which was cleared by Alloa, only as far as Lewis Mayo however, but the Rangers loanee fired his effort wide of Neil Parry’s goal.
The Pars’ early dominance paid off in the 14th minute when Fraser Murray picked the ball up on the left and crossed to find Wighton, who helped himself to his first Pars goal with a fine opportunistic finish.
Dunfermline continued to control the game until the 25-minute mark. Comrie pulled up with a calf injury and Crawford was forced into an early change, with January signing Kyle Macdonald the replacement. Macdonald settled into the game well, but from then on, Alloa looked more comfortable.
The Wasps were doing well – attacking in numbers and ensuring Dunfermline were limited to very few chances. The away side got their reward in the 43rd minute when Owain Fon-Williams parried Lucas Williamson’s effort out into the box and Kevin Cawley’s shot took a wicked deflection, looping over Fon-Williams and into the back of the net.
Alloa seemed to have taken confidence from their equaliser late in the first half as they started the second period in similar attacking fashion.
Despite the Wasps controlling the opening stages of the second half, it was the home side who got themselves ahead once again. Fraser Murray delivered a delightful ball which was met by Wighton who nodded home his, and the Pars’, second of the afternoon.
Just moments later, it was Alloa who had the ball in the back of the net. This time, though, referee Steven Reid claimed Innes Cameron was climbing on the back of a Pars defender and the goal was disallowed.
Alloa continued to pile pressure on the Dunfermline backline. They had a late shout for a penalty, but it wasn’t to be for Grant’s side, as they remain rooted to the foot of the table.
Peter Grant believes his side can feel hard done by, especially with decisions that didn’t go their way.
“I thought we were excellent. We created a lot of chances and there were some horrible decisions not given to us. If you go back and see them again, they look even worse.
“But the performance, I was chuffed to bits with the boys. We dominated every part of the game, but as I say there was only one thing that wasted it. I loathe being critical (of referees) but it probably sums up this season.”
Stevie Crawford praised the character of his team in today’s performance.
“I thought we started well, we looked dangerous and played some really good football. Towards the end of the first half Alloa did come into it a little bit.
“We were a bit unfortunate to lose a goal from a deflection, but we started the second half well, got ahead in the game and then, to be honest, we won ugly. That was the pleasing thing for me because we had to change the formation a couple of times as well.
“The second half was just about showing the mentality that we wanted to win the game. When you look at other results, it’s been an important three points for us today.”
The Pars move up to second in the league, three points ahead of third placed Raith Rovers. Alloa remain bottom of the table five points adrift of Ayr United who sit in ninth.
It’s midweek action for the Wasps next as they travel up to the Highlands to take on Inverness on Tuesday, while Dunfermline head down to Palmerston on Saturday to meet an in-form Queen of the South side.