Livi missed the chance to move off the foot of the Championship as they failed to break down a stubborn Alloa side and were forced to settle for a goalless draw on a cold night at the Energy Assets Arena.
The Lions had picked up four points from their previous two matches and were looking to continue their upturn in form and move off the foot of the table for the first time since late November.
Before the match there was a rousing minute’s applause in memory of West Lothian teenager Jak Trueman, who sadly passed away yesterday having raised over £50,000 for charity in his last days, followed by a chorus of “There’s Only One Jak Trueman” as the match got underway in snowy conditions.
Livi were unchanged from the 5-1 drubbing of Dumbarton ten days ago but it was Alloa made the brighter start and had the first effort in anger on seven minutes when Ryan McCord fired in a long range effort which Darren Jamieson did well to save. Livi responded well and Danny Mullen raced through on goal but ex-Livi youngster Craig McDowall parried his shot away. Keaghan Jacobs was next to try his luck but he could only fire over the bar.
Livi were in the ascendancy and captain Jason Talbot strolled through the Alloa defence but was denied by a well-timed challenge from Ben Gordon as he prepared to shoot. Shortly after, Livi were awarded a free kick twenty yards out when Mullen was felled by a heavy challenge from Kyle Benedictus. Burton O’Brien stepped up but his curling effort was held easily by McDowall. Kyle Jacobs was the next to come close but his header from Callum Fordyce’s wicked cross was deflected wide.
Alloa offered their first threat since the early going on 25 minutes as Liam Buchanan raced down the right and crossed for Greig Spence but the ex-Celtic trainee could only poke his effort wide. It proved a rare foray forward for Alloa as Livi’s dominance continued, Mullen going close again when he showed quick feet to create space and fire in an effort which McDowall pushed over the bar.
The game broke down into a stop-start affair as half-time approached and it was only just before the break that Alloa fashioned the next chance, Jamieson diving low to push a decent header to safety. Livi forced two quickfire chances just before the break, first with an effort from the edge of the box and then a header from Jordan White which McDowall did well to save. The final chance of the half fell to the visitors as Spence met another Buchanan cross but his drilled effort was straight at Jamieson and the sides went in at the break all-square.
The second half was a slow burner and nothing happened of note until Alloa made the game’s first change five minutes into the second half when Mark Docherty replaced Stephen Simmons before Michael Doyle picked up the game’s first booking for a crude lunge on Talbot. Livi eventually picked up where they’d left off in the first half and White produced some smart play to reach the byline and drill a low ball across goal but unfortunately for Livi there were no takers. Another low cross found Nejc Praprotnik but he could only shoot straight at McDowall under pressure from the Wasps defence.
Liam Buchanan forced a half-chance for Alloa but Craig Sives did well to put him off and Jamieson saved easily. The Wasps then passed up arguably the best chance of the match as Benedictus was found unmarked in the box from a corner but could only head over. Livi responded by making their first change, giving new signing Ibra Sekajja his home debut in place of Praprotnik. The Uganda-born striker was straight into the action, spinning well on the edge of the box but shooting just wide. Alloa then made their second change, replacing Spence with Isaac Layne.
Livi survived a scare when a cross from Docherty swerved towards goal and Fordyce had to be alert to head the ball clear off the line. The Lions headed straight up the other end and White found Sekajja who drilled a shot goalwards but McDowall palmed the ball wide. The Lions then made their second change as Myles Hippolyte replaced Keaghan. Talbot then saw his corner take a deflection off a defender and fly inches over the head of White. Minutes later a second corner from Talbot found Mullen unmarked in the box but he could only head over the bar from six yards out.
There was little else in the way of action in the remaining few minutes aside from an O’Brien free kick into the box which drifted wide as the Lions were left frustrated and Alloa left West Lothian with a potentially valuable point. Next up for the Lions is a testing double-header with runaway leaders Hearts, starting on Saturday when the Tynecastle side make the short trip to West Lothian.