Alloa Athletic 0 Kelty Hearts 0

KELTY HEARTS manager John Potter felt that their final game of 2022 was a missed opportunity after picking up a point at Alloa Athletic.

The New Central Park side had the better chances at the Indodrill Stadium, the best of which saw Joe Cardle smack the post in the second half, and home keeper, Jay Hogarth, save well to deny Nathan Austin in the first.

John Potter's team would have merited a first maximum points over Brian Rice's Wasps, whose only effort of the game came in first half stoppage time, when Ross MacIver blasted high and wide.

They failed to penetrate a visiting defence led by the superb centre back pairing of Jordon Forster and Tam O'Ware, but moved above Airdrieonians into fourth place.

Kelty are five points behind and, when asked if he felt it was a missed opportunity, Potter replied: "I would say so.

"We had slightly better chances, but you've got to take them at this level. We didn't do that today.

"We did ask for a clean sheet at the other end. We spoke about that a lot on Thursday at training, that we need to do more of that, keep more clean sheets, and I thought we were pretty solid at the back today. (There were) one or two little bits, and we've just got to keep doing what we're doing going forward, and try and score more goals."

Visiting boss Potter made just one alteration to the side that were beaten late on by Dunfermline in last weekend's Fife derby.

Forster, who had missed out with illness, returned to the defence, with Cardle dropping to the bench.

Kelty were seeking a first win over the Wasps - they had lost at the Indodrill in August, before fighting back to claim a 1-1 draw at home in November - and it was they who had the better in the opening 45 minutes.

After a minute's applause in memory of the late, great, Pele, who sadly passed away on Thursday, and in remembrance of those connected to both clubs lost throughout the year, play got underway and Kelty took the game to their opponents.

Not that there were many opportunities throughout the opening half to get the Hogmanay crowd excited - but, the best of those that were fashioned, were done so by the visitors.

Jay Hogarth was the first keeper forced into serious action midway through the half, palming away a vicious cross-cum-shot from Alfredo Agyeman, before he produced in the contest's first big moment.

Jamie Barjonas was the creator, sending Austin running in on goal after spotting his fine run behind the Alloa defence, but the Kelty number nine was denied by a fine block as the home stopper raced off his line to meet him.

Darren Lyon saw a sliced effort deflected behind, before a counter-attack sparked by Austin winning the ball on halfway after Kelty had cleared a corner brought them one of their own, from which O'Ware saw a header go behind via a home player.

Ross MacIver, who had had an effort blocked moments prior, had Alloa's best opportunity of the first half in stoppage time, rifling high and wide of the near post after making his way into the penalty area.

At the interval, Jason Thomson made his first appearance since going off with a concussion injury during a defeat at Airdrieonians last month, replacing Reis Peggie, and he almost immediately rose to meet a Michael Tidser corner, but couldn't divert the ball on target.

Alloa boss, Brian Rice, made a double switch early in the second half, subbing Kevin Cawley and Jon Robertson for Steven Buchanan and Murray Miller, in an attempt to try and swing proceedings his side's way, but Kelty were soon on the attack.

Tidser, from a free-kick won by Austin, did well to get his effort up and over the wall, which Hogarth saved, before Agyeman was replaced by Cardle on the hour mark.

The substitute curled an effort towards goal after Tidser laid a free-kick on to him, which Hogarth held, but he would soon come even closer.

With Lewis Martin available in space to his left, Cardle decided to go it alone, and almost scored his 100th senior career goal, watching in agony as the ball smacked off the post.

It was a brilliant effort, and Kelty continued to push, with Tidser having an effort blocked, before O'Ware sent the follow-up over.

Still the visitors came forward, with Tidser unlucky to send a curler wide after good play between Kallum Higginbotham and Barjonas to set him up at the edge of the area, before Higginbotham himself saw a driven effort deflected behind.

Try as they might, though, they couldn't find a winner, and were forced to settle for a point to end a momentous 2022 for the club.

Match stats

Alloa Athletic: Hogarth, Graham, Taggart, Church, Robertson (Miller 54), Scougall, Cawley (Buchanan 54), MacIver, Stanger, Offord (Sammon 64), O'Donnell (Rankin 64).

Subs not used: Durnan, King, Rodden, Howie, Muir.

Kelty Hearts: Jamieson, Martin, O'Ware, Forster, Peggie (Thomson 45), Lyon, Tidser, Barjonas, Higginbotham, Agyeman (Cardle 60), Austin (Doherty 780.

Subs not used: Logan, Hill, McNab, McGill, Cameron, Campbell.

Booked: Tidser (86).

Referee: Calum Scott.

Attendance: 701.