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Saturday May 13, 2017

Ladbrokes Championship Play-off Semi-Final, Second Leg

Alloa Athletic




Jon Robertson 50

​Alloa Athletic win 4-3 on Penalty Kicks



Alloa progressed to the Championship play-off final on penalty kicks after 210 minutes of football was unable to separate them from Airdrie.

The two sides met for the sixth time this season and yet again only one goal separated the sides after 90 minutes.

Extra time was goalless and the penalty shoot-out saw former Diamond Neil Parry make a couple of excellent saves to send the Wasps into the final against Brechin City.

Rohan Ferguson had turned in an excellent performance throughout the 120 minutes displaying the form that has seen him coveted by other clubs.

​The second leg got underway with Airdrie enjoying the early pressure as Kieran MacDonald drilled a dangerous cross in three minutes that the home side scrambled clear.

After seven minutes Calum Waters' curling free kick moved away from the Airdrie goal with no one chasing in on the ball.

After MacDonald and Ryan Conroy linked well in 13 minutes the full back’s delivery was sliced away by Andy Graham for a corner.

Greig Spence was on to a loose ball in the penalty area in 19 minutes but sent a tame shot on target that Ferguson took cleanly.

As the play swung from end to end Iain Russell rose to meet a MacDonald cross in 21 minutes but could not send it on target, but two minutes later Andy Ryan fired Scott Stewart’s cross past Parry into the net only to see it disallowed.

Ferguson made an excellent save in 27 minutes after Dylan Mackin’s header from Scott Taggart’s cross was net bound and he touched the ball over the bar.

A minute later Ferguson was down low to save again from Mackin as he turned just inside the box, but the keeper saved well with his feet.

10 minutes from the interval Conroy and MacDonald fashioned a chance for Russell and his shot was blocked before reaching Parry who gathered easily.

Ryan was unable to make good contact with a Conroy pass in the 40th minute and the sides went in at the break goalless.

Airdrie started well after the interval with Iain Russell forcing Parry into an excellent save in 47 minutes as his curling shot was pushed over the bar.

Sean McIntosh blasted a shot from inside the box high over the goal a minute later.

As the match continued to be end to end Jordan Kirkpatrick curled a dangerous cross into the box away from goal in 50 minutes, then a minute later Jon Robertson fired a powerful 25 yard shot into the net for Alloa to take the lead and square the tie.

The home side should have doubled their lead three minutes later after Simon Mensing’s passback was short, Mackin raced on to the ball and away from Ferguson the cut it back to Spence who blasted the ball against the bar and over from 10 yards out.

Ryan headed a Russell cross wide after 56 minutes, while Ferguson made a couple of fine saves from a Kevin Cawley shot then from a deflected effort from Mackin leaping to his right on 59 minutes.

Despite the heavy treatment that he came in for Ryan still was eager to get on the end of any chance to come his way and in 79 minutes linked with Conroy then sent a deflected 20 yard effort over the goal.

Four minutes later substitute Jack Leitch was in behind the Alloa defence after a neat one two but Parry was out quickly to block the shot.

Extra time saw both sides continue to make chances. Robertson fired in another 25 yard shot that Ferguson gathered in 93 minutes, while Russell created some space for himself five minutes later before curling a 25 yard shot wide left of Parry’s goal.

Ferguson made another decent save from another Mackin header just before the extra time break.

A Kirkpatrick free kick midway through the second half period of extra time struck the post and went wide but both sides were like two boxers almost out on their feet having given their all.

The full time whistle went and spot kicks decided the final outcome, with once more only one splitting the sides.

In the end Alloa go through to face Brechin city in the final.

John O'Brien at The Indodrill Stadium.

Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.

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