Alloa Athletic 0 PARS 1

JACKSON LONGRIDGE'S fourth goal of the season handed Dunfermline a vital three points at Alloa Athletic this afternoon.

The full-back's superb 69th minute strike gave the visitors a deserved win at the Indodrill Stadium to end a run of four games without a win.

That will come as a relief to Allan Johnston, who saw encouragement from Athletic's midweek draw at Inverness, and his side would've won this game more convincingly had it not been for a man of the match display by Wasps keeper Neil Parry.

Although Lee Robinson was called upon to deny Greig Spence in the first half, and Lee Ashcroft cleared one off the line, the Pars were largely in control and created the larger number of opportunities throughout.

Johnston retained faith the same starting line-up from that clash in the Highlands on Tuesday night, with two-goal Aidan Keena retained in attack with Andy Ryan, but James Vincent recovered from injury to take a seat on the bench.

The teams had already met twice this season going into this one, with a stalemate at East End in September followed by a 2-2 draw in last month's Irn-Bru Cup tie, which the Wasps came through on penalties.

Dunfermline, with one win in their last five games in all competitions, started the afternoon in seventh place, four points clear of their second-bottom hosts, and went in search of a result to try and turn their faltering campaign around.

With the town's annual fireworks display in Pittencrieff Park having been cancelled in the run-up to kick off, the healthy travelling support were hoping for some from their favourites in Clackmannanshire, and their side started well.

Within the opening few minutes, Andy Ryan had a tester that Parry in the home goal did well to block, while Aidan Connolly - whose dad, Paddy, is Alloa boss Jim Goodwin's assistant - cleared the bar with a free-kick.

At the other end, a Steven Hetherington set-piece was nodded wide by Spence, before Keena forced Parry into further action with a teasing curler from range.

But, in 17 minutes, skipper Ashcroft produced a piece of fine defending to deny Spence on the line after Alloa won back possession on the left and a ball across goal found the striker lurking 12 yards out.

The contest was pretty open in the opening quarter and soon the play moved back to the other end, with Ryan again denied by some resolute defending before Parry did well to tip a decent Joe Thomson drive over the top.

Just before the half hour, Robinson produced a superb piece of goalkeeping to prevent Alloa taking the lead.

Scott Taggart was sent scampering down the right and played a delicious ball into the centre for Spence, who did everything right in connecting with it, but could only watch as the Pars stopper produced a sensational block.

Almost immediately, however, Dunfermline broke and Jackson Longridge played a fine ball over the top for Aidan Connolly, who was denied by a brilliant block by the onrushing Parry.

The Wasps keeper was having a fine afternoon and, seven minutes from the break, he saved his team again when he did well to turn Ryan's header from around eight yards from James Craigen's cross out for a corner.

The Dunfermline hitman continued to pepper the Alloa goal, with his next effort - hit first time into the side net - coming after he latched on to a long clearance downfield by Robinson.

Malaury Martin sent a free-kick into the wall, with Thomson sending the rebound over, in the second half's early stages before Danny Devine got on the end of a Connolly set-piece, but couldn't find the power or direction to beat Parry.

Jon Robertson provided a reminder of Alloa's threat, shooting wide from distance, before Connolly fired high and wide after bursting into the penalty area on the left.

On the hour, Johnston sent on Ryan Williamson and Kallum Higginbotham in search of a greater attacking threat on the right hand side, and the latter played a part in the opener with 21 minutes left.

Higginbotham did the donkey work, clipping a ball into the box that was cleared but only as far as Longridge, who let fly with a magnificent, first-time strike that flew like a rocket beyond Parry and into the net.

It was a goal met with delight by Johnston as he turned to celebrate on the touchline, and he almost had another reason to cheer minutes later.

Higginbotham was again involved, playing the ball through for Ryan, and after the striker did well to evade his man and go round Parry, a Wasps defender managed to clear before be could pass it into the gaping net.

Williamson then embarked on a run down the right and, after clipping a decent ball into the centre, fellow substitute Faissal El Bakhtaoui got his head to it but couldn't generate the power needed to beat Parry.

But Dunfermline had done enough to claim a well-earned three points to ease growing pressure ahead of next Saturday's match with rivals Falkirk.

Alloa: Parry, Taggart, Dick, Roscoe, Graham, Hetherington, Cawley, Robertson, Spence, Trouten, Zanatta.

Subs: Shields, Brown, Hastie, Peggie, Burt, Aloulou, Henry.

Pars: Robinson, Craigen, Ashcroft, Devine, J. Longridge, M. Martin, Thomson, Connolly, Hippolyte, Keena, Ryan.

Subs: Williamson, L. Martin, Higginbotham, El Bakhtaoui, Vincent, Muirhead, Gill.

Goal: Longridge (69).

Referee: David Munro.

Attendance: 1,169.