AFTER a rollercoaster 90 minutes at Recreation Park, peppered with some feisty exchanges on and off the park, Alloa eventually prevailed in this First Division play-off but only thanks to the two-goal advantage they had gained in the first leg.
Scorers: Alloa Athletic: Cawley (36), Elliot (pen 67); Brechin City: Jackson (4, 90), Trouten pen 58
Alloa win 4-3 on aggregate
Paul Hartley’s men now face a tantalising contest with neighbours Dunfermline in the final, but their mettle was tested yesterday by a spirited Brechin side.
“It was a great game, end to end, good for the spectators but not good for my heart,” acknowledged a relieved but contented Hartley, pictured, who had to watch the closing 45 minutes from the stand after being banished from the touchline after a fracas with his Brechin counterpart Ray Mackinnon following a controversial first-half equaliser from Kevin Cawley. He indicated that the challenge presented by Dunfermline is one he will relish.
“On our day we can beat anyone and we’ll give it a right go.”
The scene was set for a fast-paced and edgy encounter when Brechin made an early inroad to the first-leg deficit through Andy Jackson after only four minutes.
Cawley then brought the scores level with a thumping volley, although there was a hint of offside. The goal sparked some ugly exchanges between the dugouts and referee Willie Collum took the unusual step of sending both managers to the stand.
After the restart the visitors’ Alan Trouten dispatched a penalty beyond Scott Bain after Jonathon Tiffoney had handled in the box. The home side struggled to regain their fluency but the pendulum swung back in their favour when Calum Elliot was tripped in the box by Ewan Moyes and the former Hearts striker drove home the penalty himself to restore parity on the day.
Brechin refused to accept the inevitable and deserved the reward of Jackson scoring his second of the day with virtually the last kick of the ball.