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Alloa Athletic won this local derby against Stenhousemuir, but it was not until going down to ten men that they raised their game. Scott Walker was red carded after receiving two bookable offences in the first half and as often is the case the ten men put up a very positive display. Indeed in the second period once Bryan Prunty put “The Wasps” ahead with his seventh goal of the season they were unlucky not to increase their tally, Stenhousemuir keeper Ally Brown pulling off a wonderful save to keep out a Kevin mcDonald volley which was goalbound. The points secured were the most important statistic on the day but the team will need to raise their game again next Saturday when First Division League leaders Raith Rovers are our opponents in the Scottish Cup Third Round tie.
allan maitland after derby win
Last week I was extremely critical at our lack of work rate and how poor a number of big players for us played and today especially when we were down to ten men a number of our big players, especially, Kevin McDonald, Andy Scott, David Gormley and Darren Smith, their work rate was absolutely fantastic and when we got in at half time I was saying to them the questions at the moment are all for Stenhousemuir rather than for us as they were expected to go on and win, now we were down to ten men. The big thing for us was not to get too far up the park and just sit in and try and force them to get the ball into the centre backs rather than the strikers and make it difficult for them to score – I think they did that really well in fact, I don’t actually remember our goal keeper having a serious save to make when went down to ten men, having said that to win a game you still need to have a bit of quality – I thought Andy Scott, Bryan Prunty and Stuart Noble played really well in that sense. Last season really turned on us beating Stenhousemuir and I can only hope we do the same again this year. At the start of the game I thought the game was really open and it could have been any score and every time Stenhousemuir went forward it looked as though they might score as they were playing really well at that stage and everytime we went forward I thought we might score, there was no doubt the sending off changed the game. I think the sending off for us looked a touch harsh and the second booking I don’t think Scott meant it, but by letter of the law I think the referee got it spot on I don’t have any complaints about it, I think the first one the boy looked as though he was never going to get the ball and Scott Walker tripped him and the second one the guys cut across him I don’t think Scott seen him when he fouled him – we were feeling a bit aggrieved at the time but now you can go back and look at it and obviously we won the game and I think the referee has probably got both decisions right. David McClune going off early in the game asked a lot of questions of our squad today but I thought they stood up to it really well – I thought the effort was magnificent – at times you don’t win games pretty – it’s normally done by quality and by good football and we tried to do that at East Fife last week and we got absolutely horsed 4-1 so today we had to be a bit more gritty and I think we did that and I think that over the piece we deserved to win – Stenhousemuir may feel differently but I feel we deserved to win and as for effort and work rate and team spirit – it seemed to be there today and I thought we were the better side. I made a point in my programme notes today that too many people are giving linesmen and officials stick this season, they are there to do a job, without them we cannot have a game of football, yes they will make mistakes, I’ll make mistakes, players will make mistakes that happens in football, but I thought the referee and officials did great today. Getting a victory today was the most important thing but it did come at a price in the fact David McClune pulled his calf muscle after only five minutes of the game, Scott Walker is now suspended for the next league game with his double booking and Billy Gibson missed the game through illness, next week we have a big game against Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup at Recreation Park, so we will concentrate on that game and see how it goes, however we will have Stevie Robertson suspended for that game and I’m sure Jamie Ewings would be delighted to have his first shut out for the club, the defenders played exceptionally well in front of him but what he had to do, when he had to punch crosses and go and catch crosses he did very well.