Organised and obstinate as well as impressively cohesive, Alloa yet again put a spoke in the wheels of one of the leading promotion contenders in the Championship while making sure that their own interest in the chase for a play-off spot remains anything but peripheral.
Just as they had done against Hamilton a couple of weeks ago, Paul Hartley’s men absorbed huge amounts of pressure but on this occasion they fell just short of snatching what would have been another remarkable three points.
“I thought we were outstanding”, said Hartley. “Coming to Falkirk is difficult, but we had a gameplan and it worked. We could have had a couple on the counter-attack, too, if we had kept our composure”.
Hartley’s part-timers have now racked up 14 clean sheets this season and witnessing this resilient performance, in which their young goalkeeper Scott Bain once again drew attention to his considerable promise, you could well appreciate why.
Falkirk were the dominant force throughout and their patient, possession-hugging play was laudable, even if on occasion a desire to over-elaborate in the final third was their undoing. They still etched out some decent openings in the opening 45 minutes, with both Craig Sibbald and David McCracken sending in headed efforts that were just off target. Bain also stepped in with a fine tip-over from a raging shot from Mark Millar and well-judged smother at the feet of Rory Loy.
Things continued in near identical fashion after the break. Sibbald angled a shot marginally wide, whilst Phil Roberts neatly nodded the ball down for Loy but, once again, the direction was lacking. But there was relief for a restless home support that Hartley’s men did not capitalise on some pacy attacking bursts, with Kevin Cawley steering a shot inches wide and Declan McManus slipping at the crucial moment in front of Michael McGovern’s goal.
Perhaps fittingly, however, Bain literally saved his best until the last moments with a spectacular stretching parry to divert a stinging net-bound drive from Roberts. With his side moving into third place on goal difference, Falkirk manager Gary Holt was not too despondent at the outcome. “I’m happy with a point. We’ve got to be a little more clinical and make more runs off the ball, but the effort of the players today was phenomenal.”