This match was decided by two of the sweetest strikes likely to grace the Championship this season but for Barry Smith, the Alloa Athletic manager, the highlight was the “grit and determination” displayed by his stubborn side.
Second-half goals from Mark Docherty and Kevin Cawley earned the Wasps their first league victory since 8 November and catapulted them above their hosts and out of play-off danger.
“You could see what the win meant to myself and the players,” said Smith, whose team now host Hibernian next weekend. “It’s been a while coming but, although we are delighted with the points, we need to continue with that grit and determination. We scored with two great finishes but we showed a different side and battened down the hatches.”
Cowdenbeath’s Kudus Oyenuga had a “goal” disallowed for offside but, for the home side, the opening 45 minutes was most notable for the introduction of substitute Dean Brett, who played for the first time since the tragic death of partner Gemma Porteous last month.
Alloa passed up two gilt-edged opportunities before the break, with Jason Marr and Kevin Cawley profligate when it seemed easier to score, but there was again more of a threat about them after the interval and their persistence paid off in the 65th minute.
The Wasps won the break of the ball on a lightning raid forward and Isaac Layne’s skilful flick sat up perfectly for Docherty to rasp a stunning volley beyond Robbie Thomson.
As the home side piled men forward in search of an equaliser, Alloa then sealed the victory on another quick-fire break. Cawley robbed Thomas O’Brien on the half-way line and raced forward before firing a superb drive from the edge of the area beyond Thomson’s despairing dive.
“Baffled” Cowdenbeath manager Jimmy Nicholl moaned: “It was another disappointing home result and performance. There’s no way Alloa should be coming here more determined than us to win a football match.”