Alloa Athletic 2 PARS 1

AN 11th goal of the season from Kevin Nisbet wasn't enough as Athletic fell to a disappointing loss at Alloa this afternoon.

Kevin Cawley's second half header proved decisive for the Wasps, who move to within three points of Stevie Crawford's after a match that saw his team look threatening in spells, but ultimately be undone by two avoidable goals.

The result was the hosts' first home league win over Athletic since 1979, and leaves the visitors in sixth place in the table, four points behind Inverness and Arbroath immediately above them.

Alan Trouten - Alloa's go-to-man for goals against Dunfermline - fired his side ahead from the penalty spot in the 16th minute, only for Nisbet to cancel that out with a 12-yard effort of his own in a quarter of an hour later.

However, with just under 20 minutes to go, Kevin Cawley restored the home side's lead with a powerful header The headline team news for the Pars was that Joe Thomson, absent since sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in March, was in the first team squad for the first time since that game against Ayr United.

He took his place on the bench alongside another man back from injury, Lewis McCann, as Josh Coley and Miller Fenton dropped out.

Aside from that, it was same again for Crawford as he kept faith with the same starting line-up for the third match in a row.

There was an early opportunity for Lee Ashcroft from Andy Ryan's corner, but he couldn't direct his header on target, before the latter had a half chance as the hosts struggled to clear a Greg Kiltie centre.

But, in the 16th minute, Alloa took the lead from the penalty spot and it was avoidable from the visitors' viewpoint.

There seemed little danger when Josh Edwards moved to cover a ball down the right hand side but, in trying to see the ball out, he was robbed of it by Kevin Cawley.

From his centre, Ashcroft was deemed to have fouled Kevin O'Hara, and Trouten did the needful for his sixth goal in seven games against the Pars.

Although the hosts went on to enjoy a couple of decent passages of play, Dunfermline hit back just after the half hour mark.

Kyle Turner started the attacking, sending the ball wide left for Nisbet, who darted to just inside the penalty area.

Cawley's trailing leg halted his progress and, after picking himself up to take, he slotted the spot-kick away well for his fourth in goal in three games.

Kiltie then had a sight of goal, before he tried to head home the rebound from six yards to no avail, as Dunfermline sought to push on from the equaliser.

Just before the break, they had opportunities to edge themselves ahead; a good break by Nisbet into the box saw him pull the ball back to the edge of the area, but neither Ryan Dow or Ryan could get a shot away, before those two and Turner each had efforts in quick succession blocked.

Jamie MacDonald in Alloa's goal produced a fine stop to deny Nisbet 10 minutes into the second half and, from the resultant corner, Ashcroft was unlucky to watch his header hit the crossbar.

After a Nisbet free-kick hit the wall on its way to goal, Turner had a chance to strike from eight yards, but lashed over, before a good break between Turner and Kiltie set up Nisbet, only for MacDonald to save.

But, with 18 minutes to go, Alloa took the lead for a second time with a goal that will have Crawford pulling his hair out.

From a throw in, a deep cross from the right to the far post was met by Cawley who, unmarked, was able to power a fine header beyond Scully and into the net from six yards.

McCann was thrown on for Ryan with 13 minutes to go as the visitors sought a second leveller of the afternoon, but Kiltie couldn't find it with a 25-yarder that sailed over.

Ryan Scully then kept Dunfermline in the game with a fine finger-tip save but, after working himself into a shooting position well, Cawley blazed over when he should have at least hit the target.

As the clock ticked down, the Pars piled on the pressure and both Dow and substitute Tom Beadling had shots deflected behind for corners, while Ashcroft couldn't hit the target from a Kiltie corner at close range.

But it wasn't enough as Dunfermline slipped to only a second defeat in eight games.

Alloa Athletic: MacDonald, Taggart, Robertson, Flannigan, Deas, Graham, Cawley, Brown, O'Hara, Trouten, Malcolm.

Subs: Gilhooly, Buchanan, Thomson, O'Donnell, Gillespie, Henry.

Pars: Scully, Comrie, Ashcroft, Martin, Edwards, Dow, Paton, Turner, Kiltie, Nisbet, Ryan.

Subs: Thomson, Beadling, McGill, Devine, Cochrane, McCann, Gill.

Referee: Craig Napier.