Alloa Athletic 3-0 Dunfermline Athletic

Calum Elliot celebrates for Alloa

Alloa are within touching distance of a second straight promotion after a deserved victory over Dunfermline.

And it will take a comeback similar to their semi-final win over Forfar for the Pars to avoid being relegated.

Goalkeeper Michal Hrivnak looked to be at fault as Jonathan Tiffoney hammered Alloa ahead after 27 minutes.

Calum Elliot extended the lead before the break and Kevin Moon fired the third in stoppage time of the Division One play-off final first leg.

It leaves the Pars with an uphill task to avoid relegation and playing in Division Two for the first time since 1986.

Alloa manager Paul Hartley had suggested ahead of kick-off that the pressure was all on Dunfermline as the side who finished ninth in Division One would be favourites.

Jonathan Tiffoney celebrates
Tiffoney had opened the scoring for Alloa at Recreation Park

But administration had not only led the Fifers to be docked 15 points, Jim Jefferies had also lost most of his senior professionals.

For this game, he bolstered a side made up largely of the players that lost this season's youth cup final to Celtic with veteran Craig Dargo up front and experienced coach John Potter in defence.

They were backed by a big visiting support that helped pack Recreation Park to such at extent that kick-off was delayed by 10 minutes.

However, it was Alloa who made a slicker start on their artificial surface and Ryan McCord twice came close within the first six minutes.

The former Dundee United midfielder sent a powerful shot just over the crossbar from 25 yards and then flashed a header across the face of goal and a foot past the far post.

Dunfermline gradually worked their way into the game, but intricate passing was failing to create chances.

When a corner did lead to a sight at goal for Kerr Young, the big defender could only head wide.

Just when the young Pars started to dominate their part-time opponents, they fell behind thanks to a combination of Tiffoney's ambition and a goalkeeping lapse.

The former Ayr United full-back was given room to advance towards the visitors' penalty box before firing a powerful drive that flew across the body of Hrivnak, through the goalkeeper's nervously outstretched arms and into the far corner of the net.

Dunfermline again regained composure, but Alloa's more incisive play again paid dividends in first-half stoppage time.

McCord broke through the middle before setting up Elliot and the former Scotland Under-21 striker fired a dipping side-foot drive from just inside the penalty box that was just too high for Hrivnak's outstretched fingers.

Kevin Cawley had a chance to set up Elliot for a second immediately after the break but elected to shoot and this time Hrivnak managed to save.

The goalkeeper twice beat away further efforts from Cawley during a second half when a visibly tiring Pars side were rarely seen as an attacking force.

Elliot had a penalty saved by Hrivnak after a Potter challenge two minutes from time, but there was still time for Cawley to set up former St Johnstone midfielder Moon for a killer third.

Dunfermline will hope that, with a big crowd behind them for at East End Park, they can stage another fightback, but efficient Alloa are unlikely to press the self-destruct button that led Forfar to have three men sent off.

It looks a task beyond the Pars with Alloa, who finished a distant second behind Queen of the South in Division Two, looking destined to return to Division One for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

Alloa: Bain, Tiffoney (Docherty 71), Doyle, Gordon, Meggatt, Moon, McCord (Young 60), Simmons, Holmes, Elliot, Cawley. Subs Not Used: McDowall, Grehan, Ferns.

Booked: McCord.

Goals: Tiffoney 27, Elliot 45, Moon 90.

Dunfermline: Hrivnak, Millen, Young, Potter, Whittle, Byrne, Husband, Falkingham, Thomson, Smith (El Bakhtaoui 82), Dargo (Drummond 63). Subs Not Used: Goodfellow, Martin, Spence.

Att: 2,765

Ref: Steven McLean

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