Shire 0 Alloa Athletic 1

Sep 10, 2011 Comments Off by admin

It was another afternoon of frustration for Shire as the team just could not quite get the breaks they deserved to take something from a match in which they pushed one of the Third Division title contenders all the way.

The game was strangely similar to the last match at Ochilview three weeks ago against Peterhead in which some poor defending got the Shire players into trouble while their opponents rode their luck at the other end.

The elements also played their part in the action. A gusty wind was an advantage to Alloa in the first half  when they had the breeze at their backs, and Shire looked the stronger team after the interval when they could harness its power.

The visitors, looking unfamiliar in an all-maroon strip, certainly wasted no time in trying to use the wind to their favour. After just ten minutes some good play from Alloa outside the Shire box ended with a Graeme Holmes shot which Calum Antell did well to save.

Alloa were not afraid to pepper Antell’s goal with long-range opportunities and Ryan McCord came close after 16 minutes from just inside the Shire box but his effort drifted just the wrong side of goal.

Robbie Winters got a chance to put Alloa in front after 21 minutes but his header from Ross McCord’s cross flew narrowly the wrong side of the upright. It would be fair to say that at that stage the visitors looked well in control but as long as they kept missing the target Shire were at least still in things.

Former Shire man Kevin Cawley was another culprit of not taking a chance when it came along. Twice he nipped in behind the Shire defence and got a chance to beat Antell but each time his effort was poor.

All of which could have come back to bite Alloa on the half hour mark when Ben Gordon was robbed of possession just outside his own penalty box and the ball was threaded through to Ally Love.

The Shire man was clean though with only Alloa keeper Scott Bain to beat but, instead of giving the home team a 1-0 lead all he could do was send the shot tamely wide of goal.

However, that did herald a brighter period in the game for Shire. Five minutes later Andy Stirling cracked in a decent shot which produced a good save from Bain, and on 40 minutes David Cane found skipper Kevin Turner but his shot flew into the side netting.

The home team had coped manfully with Alloa and the elements until injury-time at the end of the first half. A needlessly-conceded free kick was flighted to the back post by Ryan McCord for Ryan Harding to head across the face of goal. Ben Gordon reacted quicker than the Shire defenders and stuck out a boot at the loose ball with just enough conviction to get it to cross the line.

The Alloa goal was the last action of the first half and could not have come at a worse time for Shire. But the team, now with the advantage of the wind at their backs, came out fired up to have a go.

After 47 minutes Steven Jackson sent in a great free-kick which just cleared the Alloa crossbar, while Turner stung the fingertips of the Wasps’ keeper with a thunderbolt shot which Bain in the Alloa goal did well to keep out.

It was now Shire who were dictating play and they had all the forward momentum but creating clear-cut chances was more difficult, although Andy Stirling was always prepared to take the initiative and, after 68 minutes he sent in a great shot which caused Bain some trouble although the keeper, in the end, made a smart save at his near post.

But Shire were genuinely unlucky not to bring the scores level after 70 minutes.  Some good passing play set up Jackson 20 yards out and he took aim before sending in an unstoppable shot that looked destined for the top right-hand corner of Bain’s goal only for the ball to cannon back into play off the crossbar.

Alex Lurinsky then had a chance to turn the rebound into the unguarded net but he could not connect properly and Alloa managed to clear the danger.

It was all Shire by this point but Alloa were capable of a swift break upfield and they might have sealed the victory when Winters sent a snapshot towards goal from the edge of the six yard box but Antell, who had been largely untroubled in the second half, made a good save at full stretch to keep it out.

The visitors then had an appeal for a penalty when they claimed David Cane handled a shot inside the box but referee Greg Aitken waived away their appeals.

With nine minutes to go Andy Stirling fired over a ball from the left which the Alloa defence only half cleared. It eventually landed at the feet of Jackson whose rasping drive looked net-bound but was deflected wide for a corner by an outstretched Alloa leg.

SHIRE : Antell, Chisholm (Lurinsky 64), Frances, Beveridge, Cane, Hunter, Scott (Team 80), Stirling, Turner (Sheerin 76), Jackson, Love.

ALLOA ATHLETIC  : Bain, Doyle, Docherty, Gordon, Harding, Young, Ross McCord (Innes 67), Ryan McCord, Winters (Campbell 78), Holmes, Cawley (One 82).

REFEREE : G. Aitken.

ATTENDANCE : 419.

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