SHIRE 0 ALLOA ATHLETIC 2

After the excitement of Tuesday’s win over Falkirk it was back to earth with a bump for Gordon Wylde’s Shire team.

Following on from all the fizz which had accompanied the morale-boosting victory at Westfield, the first home match of the season looked a game too far for a bunch of players who seemed tired and listless.

By contrast Second Division Alloa buzzed about impressively and were well worthy of their victory.

Wylde made four changes to Tuesday’s team; Greig Mitchell replaced Darren Hill in goal, Kevin Struthers took the place of goalscorer Marc McKenzie, while Gary Kelly ousted Graeme McLaren and Paul Brownlie came in for Derek Ure.

Alloa started very brightly and the Shire rearguard had their work cut out in the opening few minutes. First Paul Doyle had to clear a netbound effort from Scott Agnew then a clever bit of play from Brian Fairbairn relased Graeme Brown but his lob over the keeper was just too high.

Mitchell was by far the busier keeper and did well on 16 minutesto save a long-range effort from Fraser Forest. The keeper looked less confident five minutes later when tested by a good effort from Agnew but did at least recover well to block his shot after the ball rebounded off the keper’s chest.

Joe Andrew was next to test Mitchell with a lovely curling effort on 39 minutes. Shire, by contrast, were rarely seen in attack, although Joe Savage turned Scott Buist perfectly and was clean through on goal with two minutes of the half to go. His shot, however, was straight at the keeper.

The match was won within ten minutes of the re-start. Afterv 47 minutes Paul Doyle was harshly judged to have fouled Graeme Brown outside the box and Agnew struck the resulting free-kick past a stranded Mitchell.

Six minutes later former Shire man Brian Fairbairn hit an unstoppable shot high into the roof of the net after a mazy run from midfield.

McKenzie, Ure and youth player Scott Donaldson all came on and Shire started to make an impression. But hte closest they came to scoring all night was on 67 minutes when a neat one-two on the edge of the box gave Godon Moffat a clear scoring chance which was blocked for a fruitless corner kick.

Alloa might have made it 3-0 with six minutes left when substitute Chris Mackie squeezed the ball under Mitchell’s body but Doyle hooked his netbound effort off the line.

Shire : Mitchell, Moffat(Ure 69), K. McBride, Doyle, King, P.McBride, Struthers(McKenzie 62), Brand, Savage, Kelly(Donaldson 62), Brownlie.

Alloa : Jellema(Creer 46), Clark, Fleming, Buist, Forest, Grant, Fairbairn, B. Ferguson, Brown(Mackie 67), Agnew, Andrew(A. Ferguson 67).

Referee : D. Somers

Sponsors’ Man of the Match : Scott Agnew.

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