Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson believes referee Colin Steven’s failure to award an offside decision proved decisive as his side crashed to a surprising defeat in Clackmannanshire.
However, he was magnanimous enough to admit that his under-performing side cannot hide behind it as they missed a great opportunity to strengthen their grip on pole position.
Indeed, they were only thankful that their misgivings were replicated in Dundee as title rivals United were defeated at home by Queen of the South.
It means they still hold a two-point lead with two games in hand, although they are facing a pivotal week with a trip to Inverness on Tuesday and a visit from United next Friday.
Ferguson said: “There was an offside in the build-up to their goal. I’m not going to criticise officials but they got that one wrong. Our defenders are aggrieved but we’re not going to use that as an excuse.
“It’s frustrating and we weren’t happy the way we played. We weren’t at it.
“Fair play to Alloa. They fight extremely hard and they deserve a lot of credit for keeping us out.
“We created some chances but we also rode our luck at times too so we have to be honest. There was no damage because United lost too but this was a missed opportunity.
“We look forward to two big games this week. Nothing has changed from our point of view but we will look at what we can do better.”
Alloa were excellent in the first half as they took the game to County with energy and enthusiasm and they deserved to be ahead.
Jack Aitchison had come close twice and Scot Fox had also saved an Andy Graham header. The goal came in 33 minutes when Dario Zanatta, pictured, burst into the box and drove a left-foot shot into the left corner after County failed to clear Connor Shields’ cross-field ball, when Aitchison appeared to be offside.
Brian Graham missed good chances either side of half-time and substitute Ross Stewart was thwarted twice late on but Alloa were worth their win.
They remain bottom but only five points cover the bottom five and manager Jim Goodwin feels they can survive.
He said: “Everyone contributed to a massive three points. The players have done great to stay in the mix and the pressure is on everyone else out there.
“We believe we can stay in this league. We have three huge games coming up in a week – Falkirk, Morton and Queens – and they could really be decisive on where we will be next season.
“We love being in the Championship and we will fight and scrap for everything.”