HIBS hopes of overhauling Falkirk to take second place in the Championship table were dealt a massive blow as the Easter Road side suffered a shock defeat by relegated Alloa.
Incredibly, it was the Wasps first home win of the season, Michael Duffy’s controversial strike enough to earn Ross Jack’s side three points while Hibs now trail the Bairns, who they face in Edinburgh on Tuesday, by six.
Duffy’s 45th minute shot hammered down off the underside of goalkeeper Mark Oxley’s bar before coming out, but farside assistant Thomas Shaw indicated it had crossed the line despite the protests of Alan Stubbs’ players.
But it was a dreadful performance from the Capital club who have now won just one of their last seven league matches as a season which promised so much not so long ago threatens to totally unravel.
Fraser Fyvie returned for the first time for Hibs since suffering a knee injury at Cappielow at the beginning of February while Niklas Gunnarsson was chosen ahead of Darren McGregor to partner Paul Hanlon in central defence.
Alloa were dealt a blow in the 25th minute when goalkeeper Scott Gallacher, who had been hampered by what looked like a groin problem from early in the game, was forced to call it a day, replaced by David Crawford.
It was virtually the only incident of note up to that point, James Keatings seeing two weak shots saved by Gallacher while at the other end Iain Flannigan just couldn’t get on the end of Robert Crawford’s inviting ball as it passed across the face of Maark Oxley’s goal.
A Dougie Hill foul on Keatings 22 yards out and dead centre gave the Hibs player the chance to test substitute goalkeeper Crawford but his effort sailed high over the bar.
However, the Wasps stung Hibs by taking the lead on the stroke of half-time. Duffy took Flannigan’s cross and hammered in a terrific shot which crashed down off the underside of Oxley’s bar and out.
But far side assistant Thomas Shaw indicated it had crossed the line, as referee Bobby Madden pointed out to the protesting Hibs players who had, in truth, turned in a woeful 45 minutes.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half weren’t any better although Fyvie went close as he latched onto David Gray’s cutback, the midfielder’s shot taking a deflection, bringing yet another corner which came to nothing.
As the game wore on Hibs needed to force the game, Gray’s downward header from Liam Henderson’s cross going wide before Anthony Stokes, who had brought little influence to bear on proceedings, drilled in a shot which David Crawford managed to beat away.
Alloa might have put the game beyond Hibs 12 minutes from time, Flannigan releasing goal-scorer Duffy who tried to place his shot across Oxley, the Hibs goalkeeper throwing himself to his left to push the ball away.
Alloa Athletic: Gallacher (D Crawford 25), McAusland, Marr, Hill, Hamilton, Holmes, Megginson, R Crawford (McManus 75), Caddis, Flannigan, Duffy.
Substitutes not used: Ferns, Layne, Finnie, Hynd.
Hibs: Oxley, Gray, Gunnarsson, Hanlon, Stevenson, Fyvie, Henderson, McGinn, Keatings (Boyle 62), Cummings (Dagnall 75), Stokes.
Substitutes not used: Virtanen, Bartley, Handling, McGregor, Thomson.
Referee: B Madden.