So we are out of the diddy cup, in which we fielded a reserve team that unexpectedly beat the then-holders in the first round, then began to take the competition more seriously as we progressed through another round. Today's defeat on penalties has no upside: any success has to be welcomed, for team morale and to energise the supporter base. The eventual exit was met with passivity, not anger. There is very little atmosphere at EEP these days.
There was one enforced change to last week's starting 11 - Mark Durnan was injured and replaced by Danny Devine.
After losing the coin toss, we were made to shoot towards the home end in the first half, in front of a crowd of just over 1400. Alloa began brightly but gradually we took control of the game, without actually threatening the Wasps goal. Then Alloa took the lead after 8 minutes - Alan Trouten finishing after a poor pass from Louis Longridge, back covering in defence.
Longridge made amends 20 minutes later when his shot from 20 yards beat Neil Parry in the Alloa goal. Encouraged by this, we saw similar long range efforts from Faissal El Bakhtaoui and Longridge again, both charged down by a solid Alloa defence.
The second half started well for Dunfermline when a penalty was awarded. Louis Longridge sent Parry the wrong way to put the Pars 2-1 up. This signalled another sustained period of Pars possession but little sign of the lead being extended further. Some decent football was being played but with no end product.
Alloa then had two great chances to equalise; firstly, left back Liam Dick panicked when given a glorious opportunity to shoot at goal from 15 yards, electing to pass instead; then Kevin Cawley's goalbound shot was superbly blocked by Jackson Longridge. The warning signs were there. After 70 minutes, the visitors got the equalising goal that they had threatened despite having much less possession. Dario Zanatta took full advantage of awful defending by Danny Devine. The Pars defender failed to clear the ball, then allowed Zanatta to get round him and past, crossing for Trouten to bundle in his and Alloa's second goal.
Dunfermline pressed for much of the final 20 minutes. A constant theme was failure to test the opposition keeper, with crosses into the box that were easily dealt with by the Alloa backline. Other half chances were unconverted.
And so, penalties. Lee Robinson was booked before the first kick for gamesmanship. His antics did not work in the previous round at Boreham Wood (failing to save any of the kicks then) and he again could not keep out any of today's attempts, with Alloa netting all 5 kicks. With the score at 5-4 to Alloa, Parry saved Aidan Connolly's effort and Alloa went through to next month's quarter finals. The crowd dispersed, as flat as a left-open can of Irn Bru.
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