This one hurt for Dunfermline – really hurt. Having put together a few decent results recently, two-nil up at half time and playing some delightful football with it, they collapsed in the face of a typically spirited comeback by Jim Goodwin’s part-timers, who snatched an equaliser right at the death through Alan Trouten.
Given that Alloa had shown what they were made of by beating Dundee United in their last outing, a share of the spoils here should perhaps not be regarded as the most surprising outcome. But the manner in which this one flipped after the break understandably left an emotional crevasse between both camps.
“To lose a goal like that in the very last minute is criminal,” was the biting assessment of Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston. “It’s really disappointing from our point of view, especially after playing so well in the first half.
“It looked as though the game was over – it’s a killer blow when you see goals like that going in in the last few seconds.”
It all seemed so comfortable for Johnson’s men in the opening 45 minutes. They looked capable of passing Alloa off the park and crucially they also showed some cutting edge. Aidan Keena continued his decent form of late by swivelling and striking a vicious low shot past Neil Parry to break the deadlock after 18 minutes.
Alloa barely had a look in at this stage, although they nearly caught the Fifers napping immediately after play had restarted when Jordan Kirkpatrick fired a warning shot that Lee Robinson did well to smother. It was the hosts who continued to dominate however and when Keena sent in a fierce low cross Parry could only push it into the path of teammate Iain Flannigan who was helpless to stop it cannoning into his own net.
From looking like they had this game comfortably in the bag the hosts turned their fans into a bag of nerves as the complexion of the game was utterly changed just four minutes after the break. The evergreen Trouten narrowed the deficit, somehow managing to hook his foot around a Kirkpatrick cutback to direct the ball beyond Robinson.
The visitors smelt the fear around East End Park and took the game to their opponents at every opportunity, exposing uncertainties in the Dunfermline defensive ranks. Kirkpatrick sent a shot whistling marginally wide of the target while there were a series of uncomfortable moments when Alloa got themselves set pieces within range of Robinson’s goal.
Just as it looked as though the hosts had clung on to the three points Trouten once again pounced, drilling an angled shot home for the equaliser. It was remarkable stuff, but not in any way appreciated by the disgruntled home support.
“Between 2018 and now I think it’s 14 occasions the players have come back from losing positions to pick up a draw or a win,” reflected a proud Goodwin. “The team spirit, the character we’ve got in there – you can’t buy that.”