Saturday 4th April 2009
Panmure RFC .........................15
Alloa got off to a shaky start in this game against Dundee side, Panmure and found themselves a converted score down inside the first 10 minutes. This early setback was further compounded when Scrum Half, Gary Bryce was shown the yellow card for retaliation and Alloa were temporarily reduced to 14 men.
However, they have been in similar circumstances in previous games this season and are becoming adept at playing their way out of trouble. Refusing to panic, they set about controlling the game and enjoyed dominance in the set pieces, although the extremely narrow Forthill park limited the options for the normally free running backs.
In the absence of any real space in midfield, Rab Truesdale was forced in to a drop goal following a period of pressure and the early deficit was reduced by 3 points. But the joy was short lived when the home side scored a very good second try, albeit against the run of play.
Once again Alloa refused to panic despite being behind by 9 points and when the forwards set up quick ball for the backs, Stevie Skelton scored between the posts, leaving an easy conversion attempt for Matt Allan.
Five minutes later, Dale Foster put his side ahead for the first time in the game, with a carbon copy of his score in the previous week’s fixture, sweeping around the line out and driving over from short range.
Whilst never performing at their best Alloa were unfortunate to go in at the break on level terms when the home side kicked a fine penalty from long range right on the half time whistle.
Turning around at 15-15, Alloa were now playing down the pronounced slope which helped put further demands on the home side defence. The rest of the game had Alloa encamped in the Panmure half, although they could not convert this territorial advantage into the points that they deserved, which was mainly due to a lack of composure and some basic handling errors coupled with some dubious refereeing decisions which invariably seemed to go against the visitors. Rolf Maitland did add to the scoreline halfway through the second period with a drive over the line from 5 yards out. Although the conversion meant that Alloa were only a converted score in front, Panmure never threatened from this point and all the focus was on Alloa scoring another try which would have given them a precious bonus point. Panmure we re determined not to let this happen and deserve credit for the way they defended for the rest of the game.
With the game reaching the dying minutes, Alloa produced their best period of play all afternoon. Backs and forwards combined well to set up a scoring chance for Rab Truesdale who was held up just short of the line. The quickly recycled ball was fed out to second half replacement, Derek Brydie who looked as though he would score, but was held up just short of the line. Once again the ball was recycled and with the home side defence in tatters, Matt Allan was on hand to score what appeared to be the bonus point try as he ran in unopposed from 10 metres out. However, the joy was short lived when the referee had other ideas and after watching the young Full Back celebrate his score he quite incredibly called back play for an earlier infringement and awarded a scrum to Panmure instead.
This proved to be the last play of the game and despite winning the game Alloa left the field feeling disappointed not only about the disallowed try but also with their overall performance which in truth was not one of their best. Gary Bryce was deservedly voted man of the match as he terrorised his opposite number all afternoon.
With second placed side, Harris also failing to secure a bonus point, Alloa still sit top of their league with only 3 games remaining and have a chance of addressing any feelings of injustice when they once again face Panmure this week at Earlsfield. 3pm KO.