Alloa Athletic v Raith Rovers

2 - 0
Full Time

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Our aim at the start of this season was to get promoted and we still have a chance to do that, last night’s 2-0 victory over Raith Rovers in the Championship Play-Off Semi-Final 1st Leg puts us in a good position, but there is still a lot of football still to be played, the tie is far from over yet.

Raith Rovers, who would have been disappointed that they did not win the League One Championship on Saturday when “The Wasps” held them to a 0-0 draw, only made the one change to their team Ross Matthews starting in stead of Dario Zanatta. The Alloa Athletic team had three changes, returning to the starting line up were Stevie Hetherington, Iain Flannigan and Jamie McCart as Jim Goodwin set about winning the first leg tie. The opening goal in these games is always important and Raith keeper Graeme Smith will not want to look back at the highlights as he attempted clear the ball and was robbed by the alert Ross Stewart who took the opportunity to open the scoring.

Alloa Athletic were then suffer a set back when their recently voted “Player of the Year” Stevie Hetherington suffered what appears to be medial ligament damage and his season was over.

Raith Rovers best effort of the evening came after 55 minutes when Jason Thomson’s effort climbed over the bar as they looked to get into the game.

Three minutes later Alloa increased their lead after great work by Kevin Cawley, who passed inside for Iain Flannigan to score his ninth goal of the season.

Alloa were looking to increase their lead and Graeme Smith after his initial mistake for the opening goal, redeemed himself in the second half to keep the scoreline at only 2-0.


 


jim goodwin after 2-0 victory in first playoff leg

From start to finish I thought we were excellent tonight, it was a very professional performance, and we defended really well and looked particularly dangerous going forward. The only thing I could be critical of is one thing, we could have been three or four nil up to be honest with you, I think their keeper has made a couple of good saves in the second half, but if you had offered me 2-0 before the game I would have bitten your hand off.

It puts us in a great position but I will be saying the exact same thing as every manager does in the Play-Off’s -“ Its Only Half-Time”. A two nil lead is a dodgy lead, at 2-0 ahead we are in a good position, much better than being two down, but I am aware of the fact that if Raith Rovers get an early goal on Saturday “Its game on again”.

So we know on Saturday we will need to be disciplined, we will set up to be hard to beat obviously, and that’s two clean sheets in back to back games against Raith Rovers which I don’t think many teams have did that against them this season. There were some great individual performances tonight but I don’t want to name names because collectively as a unit we looked solid, so it is fair to say I am really pleased.

Raith Rovers will be disappointed after the weekend and not having won the league it is difficult to pick yourself up after that disappointment but I just thought at 2-0 the message to the boys on the park was not to just be happy with 2-0, particularly when they went down to ten men I felt they were there to be got at. We did try, we had a couple of half chances, Kevin Cawley hit one and the keeper made a good save, Jon Robertson hit a shot which was deflected and the keeper managed to save it with his leg, Callum Crane broke well into the box but didn’t get his shot away and there were other opportunities we could have put the game to bed but as it stands right now we are in a good position but Raith Rovers are a very good side with dangerous players in their forward areas and we will need to make sure our concentration levels are the same on Saturday as they were tonight.

Unfortunately Stevie Hetherington looks like he has picked up a medial ligament injury and likely to be out for next six weeks before he is back jogging, really disappointed for Stevie, he has been our “Player of the Year this Season” and consistency wise he has been excellent, so he is a big loss to us there is no doubt of that but at the same time Jon Robertson comes in and slots in brilliantly, that is the luxury I have as manager we have put a great squad together and at times like this when you lose players like Stevie Hetherington and PJ Crossan, we still have players who can come in and fill the gaps and we don’t look any lesser a team, so I am privileged to be in that position.

Highlights