A bonus midweek trip for a top of the table second division clash between first place Cowdenbeath and Alloa who were breathing down their necks and on an unbeaten run which stretched back some 3 months. We were joined at a bitterly cold Recreation Park with our guest Groundhoppers for the evening – Jimmy, Nicola and her grandfather Robert Scott, an Alloa stalwart for some 65 years. We met the three inside where Nicola delightedly informed us that she got in for half price as a junior, Jimmy sadly wasn’t so lucky.
Recreation Park is an unusual little ground with a small terracing behind one goal, a gazebo that runs along half of one side and a race ground style main stand on the other. There was an interesting menu on offer at the pie stall and I opted for the mince pie and lentil soup which seemed like the right choice after viewing Jimmy’s stovies. The teams ran out on the synthetic surface to an admirably hearty crowd of over 600 supporters. The match began in a scrappy manner with both sides appearing nervous in such a crucial game. Cowdenbeath were finding some joy down their right hand side but it was Alloa who snatched the lead when ex Celtic and St Mirren striker Bryan Prunty lashed home from 10 yards after good work by John Grant.
The goal rallied Alloa into life and Cowdenbeath keeper David Hay was forced into two decent saves before the break. I decided to try another few delicacies from the menu but the sausage roll was somewhat difficult to swallow although a cracking Bovril did help to wash it down. The second half was a far more entertaining affair with Cowdenbeath determined to get back into it and Alloa keen to wrap up the 3 points. Ten minutes in and after the away side had twice gone close Alloa striker Stuart Noble raced through and despite his first effort being blocked he coolly netted the rebound to double his side’s lead.
Cowdenbeath were not finished however and began to push Alloa further and further back but their efforts were thwarted not only by the home keeper but also some last gasp defending and even the crossbar at one point. With 20 minutes to go they finally got themselves back into it when Paul McQuade stabbed in from close range. In a frantic finale Cowdenbeath applied intense pressure but could not find the equaliser they probably deserved. Indeed as they poured forward Alloa twice could've sealed the win but for weak finishing when one-on-one with the goalkeeper. In the end they hung on and the home fans drifted home delighted to be top of the league.
Journey - 6
Pie - 6
Bovril - 8
Ground - 6
Game – 6