Shire 1 Alloa Athletic 3

Jan 03, 2012 Comments Off by admin

Shire could not repeat their feat of a month earlier and beat the team at the top of the Third Division table but it certainly was not for the want of trying.

The entire length of the league separated the teams at kick-off but the real deciding factor in the game was the ability of Alloa striker Stevie May to take the chances which were presented to him.

The on-loan St. Johnstone man bagged a hat-trick of opportunist goals following defensive lapses by Shire and his influence was enough to turn a tight match the way of the visitors.

Shire coach John Coughlin was left with just a bare minimum squad and chose to go for goals with three strikers included in the starting eleven. But his game plan had to be torn up barely a minute after kick-off.

The visitors won a corner on the right after Shire had failed to clear their lines and from Mark Docherty’s flag kick May sent a glancing header past Calum Antell into the net at the far post.

But Shire were not put off by the setback and barely a minute later skipper Kevin Turner barged his way into the penalty box and struck a shot that Scott Bain in the Alloa goal did well to save.

With six minutes gone the home team equalised in extraordinary circumstances. Stuart Beveridge launched a long ball from inside his own half towards the Alloa goal which Bain completely misjudged as it bounced on the edge of his area. The Alloa keeper could only look on red-faced as it looped over his head and into the back of the unguarded net.

Bain was by far the busier of the two keepers in the first half and not long after the equalising goal Bain had to get down to save a well-hit effort from Andy Stirling and then watched as a powerful long-range Lewis Horner shot sailed just wide.

The visiting keeper was almost embarrassed again on 20 minutes when Craig Scott hit a curling free-kick from wide on the left that seemed to decieve him and only a last-gasp touch prevented the ball from sailing into the net.

On the half hour Stirling played Scott Maxwell clean through with only Bain to beat but the Shire man did not make a proper connection with the ball and screwd his shot horribly wide of goal.

But Shire were almost stung at the other end. First Docherty hit a 20 yarder that smacked the home crossbar, then Antell was required to make his only save of the first period when he got down well to stop what seemed a net-bound Graeme Holmes effort.

Shire responded and after Alloa had repeatedly failed to clear the ball out of their box it broke to Bradley Coyne, whose shot was beaten away desperately by Bain at the near post.

But the complexion of the game changed just sixty secionds after the re-start. Shire failed to stop the progress of Alloa full-back Jamie Doyle as he ran from deep to the edge of the area and that mistake proved costly after he slipped the ball to May who hit a ferocious drive past Antell high into the top left-hand corner of the net.

Just short of the hour mark Antell pulled off a top quality save to prevent May scoring his third of the match. The striker seemed certain to score from just ten yards out after the ball was laid into his path by Kevin Cawley but Antell threw himself across goal to touch the ball over the bar a full-stretch.

The Alloa man could have been forgiven for thinking he was not going to claim the match ball when he did at last manage to find the back of the net after 68 minutes only to have his effort ruled out for offside.

Shire were by no means out of things and after 70 minutes Turner fired the ball across the face of goal but could not find anyone to tap the ball into the empty net. Two minutes later his shot from the edge of the six yard box was well-saved by Bain and when the rebound dropped to Alex Lurinsky he could not find the target.

A minute further on the match was effectively put out of Shire’s reach. May received the ball from a throw-in and was allowed to run across the face of goal before hitting another shot from the edge of the 18 yard box that flew past Antell into the net.

SHIRE : Antell, Jackson, Maxwell(Dingwall 87), Beveridge, Cane, Horner, Scott(Chisholm 87), Stirling, Coyne, Turner(Team 87), Lurinsky.

ALLOA ATHLETIC : Bain, Doyle, McHattie, Forrest, Harding, Young, Docherty, Ryan McCord, May, Holmes(Masterton 74), Cawley.

REFEREE : M. Northcroft.

ATTENDANCE : 533.

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