Alloa 2-1 Hibs: Third defeat for Hibs

Matthew Kennedy battles with Mark Docherty. Picture: SNS
Matthew Kennedy battles with Mark Docherty. Picture: SNS
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Hibs slumped to their third successive Championship defeat as Alloa came from behind to leave Alan Stubbs side with only three points from their opening four league matches.

The Easter Road outfit had got the early goal they wanted when Jason Cummings headed home Matty Kennedy’s cross after only 15 minutes althought the final touch appeared to come off Alloa defender Daryll Meggatt.

But the home side equalised through Liam Buchanan before substitute Ian Flannigan, with his very first kick of the ball, sent a stunning free-kick beyond goalkeeper Mark Oxley to give Alloa a thoroughly deserved victory.

It was no more than Alloa deserved as Hibs found themselves distinctly second best with only Paul Heffernan troubling goalkeeper Craig McDowall with a late shot.Stubbs made four changes to the side which staged that dramatic late comeback in midweek, Alex Harris, Scott Robertson, Danny Handling and Callum Booth all dropping to the bench as Liam Craig and Lewis Stevenson, free of the suspensions which prevented them facing Dumbarton, Sam Stanton and Cummings were drafted into the starting line-up.

Alloa made just one change, goalkeeper John Gibson missing out with a leg injury whch allowed McDowall to make his first appearance of the season.

Hibs wore black armbands in tribute to former player Bobby Kinloch who died earlier this week.

Farid El Alagui had already gone close before Hibs took the lead, Kennedy wriggling his way to the bye-line on the right before delivering a near post cross which was met by the head of Cummings.

McDowall appeared to have it covered but pushed the ball off Daryll Meggatt and into the net although that didn’t stop Cummings claiming the goal as his own.

There was a moment of worry for Hibs when Liam Fontaine mis-kicked at the edge of his own penalty areas, the ball falling for Liam Buchanan who’s rising shot clipped the head of Jordon Forster and flew over.

Mark Oxley was then called into action, the Hibs goalkeeper getting down to his left to push Kevin Cawley’s shot past the post as Alloa began to get a foothold in the game.

Oxley had to do even better when Ryan McCord tried his luck from 25 yards, the goalkeeper leaping high to his left to claw the ball wide before former Hearts midfielder Stephen Simmons sent a dipping effort over.

There was greater concern for Hibs in the 40th minute as El Alagui landed awkwardly on his right ankle after making an aerial challenge, the striker departing on a stretcher as Heffernan took his place.

And Hibs had another Forster block to thank for keeping them on level terms at the interval, the big defender in the right place at the right time to deny Alloa’s top scorer Greig Spence. And the 20-year-old produced an acrobatic clearance to boot away Cawley’s header as the home side battled for that equaliser.

Alloa got that goal they deserved ten minutes into the second half, Oxley pulling off a terrific save to block Meggat’s close-range header from Cawley’s cross only for the ball to fall kindly in front of Buchanan who blasted it high into the net.

Barry Smith’s side almost went ahead on the hour mark, Forster sliding in an attempt to clear Buchanan’s low cross rifling the ball against Oxley when it could just as easily have ended up in the back of the net.

Hibs had become edgy with little fluency to their play, leading Stubbs to make a double substitution, Harris and Handling replacing Kennedy and Cummings.

The Easter Road side did, however, recover their composure and Forster went close at the other end, firing the ball wide after Fontaine had got his head to Craig’s free-kick.

But with six minutes remaining Flannigan sent a superb free-kick from 19 yards high into Oxley’s top right hand corner after Fontaine had brought down Cawley.

Alloa Athletic: McDowall, Doyle, Gordon, Meggatt, Docherty, Cawley, McCord, Simmons (Flannigan 83), Holmes, Buchanan (Hetherington 90+1), Spence.

Substitutes not used: Couser, Marr, Tiffoney, Ferns, Asghar.

Hibs: Oxley, Gray, Forster, Fontaine, Stevenson, Craig, S Allan, Kennedy (Harris 64), Stanton, Cummings (Handling 64), El Alagui (Heffernan 40)..

Substitutes not used: Perntreou, Robertson, Hanlon, Booth.

Referee: Stephen Finnie.

Attendance: 2476