A DIRE opening 45 minutes must have had supporters of both sides looking forward to next weekend’s Petrofac Training Cup Final meeting between the pair with little short of trepidation.
Scorers: Alloa - Buchanan 53, 73; Livingston - Gordon og 59; Boulding 88
However, this game fairly sparked into life after the interval and ultimately developed into an absorbing contest with four goals and a share of the spoils just about the right outcome.
In terms of the battle to avoid relegation, it will undoubtedly be Alloa who emerged the happier, with Livingston left still five points adrift of avoiding automatic demotion – but the West Lothian side will at least feel they are in with a decent shout to get their hands on some silverware when they reconvene at McDiarmid Park on Sunday.
The visitors, for whom nothing less than three points was a near prerequisite in their desperate plight to beat the drop, started marginally the better, dominating possession and forcing Alloa to retreat back deep inside their own half. They did, however, muster precious little in the way of a goal threat, with a Jason Talbot free-kick that flashed across the face of Craig McDowall’s goal being as close as they came to hitting the target in this opening spell.
After a tentative first 20 minutes, the hosts began to come out of their shell, with Kevin Cawley to the fore, but in truth the paucity of goalmouth incidents served only to underline why both clubs are currently at the wrong end of the table.
Fortunately, the contest changed almost beyond recognition upon the restart, with Alloa showing a commendably improved sense of urgency that brought them a near immediate reward when Michael Doyle surged down the right flank and his low cross eventually fell to Liam Buchanan, pictured, who drove the ball home from close range. This advantage was to be short lived as Livingston drew level six minutes later when Ben Gordon found himself unable to get out of the way of McDowall’s point-blank block on a Jordan White effort and knocked the ball into his own net.
Buchanan then restored the hosts’ lead after Livingston keeper Darren Jamieson could only parry his shot back into his path. To their credit, though, the visitors rallied and, after exerting much pressure in the closing stages, deservedly restored parity when Rory Boulding knocked the ball over the line from a couple of yards out.
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