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Scorer: Stewart (57)

DEBUTANT Ross Stewart's goalscoring debut was enough to see his new side leapfrog Stranraer and move into third in the table.

Three points would have been the perfect Christmas present for Stevie Farrell's side and the Stranraer fans but Alloa proved to have just enough to move into third in the table.

Farrell freshened up his team, which had battled to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday night against Albion Rovers, with the introduction of Liam Dick and Paul Woods in place of David Barron, who missed out through injury, and Kyle Turner, who dropped to the bench.

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There would be no early signs of tiredness though with Stranraer having the ball in the net after just 11 minutes.

Ryan Wallace, who had already twice tested Neil Parry in the home goal, slotted the ball through for Angus Beith.

The on-loan Hearts midfielder has been in impressive goalscoring form and coolly beat Parry, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.

The disallowed goal seemed to spur the home side on and Stranraer's defence had a couple of worrying moments with Kris Renton heading over before a misplaced Jamie Hamill back pass saw the Wasps threaten from the corner.

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The scores were level at the half time interval, with neither team really doing enough to force a breakthrough.

Parry was perhaps the busier goalkeeper but Alloa had also enjoyed a decent share of the ball.

The goalkeeping spoils would be reversed after the break though with Belford keeping his side in the tie on a number of occasions.

There was barely a minute on the clock in the second period before Belford pulled off a double save from close range after an Alloa corner.

The Englishman had to be on his toes again moments later to push away Renton's powerful effort.

Alloa's attacks were mounting and the breakthrough would finally come just before the hour mark.

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Iain Flannigan's free-kick appeared to deceive Belford, who could only push the effort up and onto the crossbar.

Stewart was on hand to nod the rebound over the goal line from barely a couple of yards out with Belford taking a knock in the process.

The shotstopper was in the net for a couple of minutes, with physiotherapist Heather Gouck and a stretcher called for, before he was able to continue.

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Alloa then had the ball in the net - after another fine double save from Belford - but the flag was again up for offside.

Stranraer would make their first change of the game with Stephen Okoh coming on for Ryan Thomson as the Blues went with two up front.

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The visitors would start to edge their way onto the front foot in the final 20 minutes or so, although Parry was still reasonably comfortable between the sticks.

Grant Anderson nodded over Dick's cross while Turner's teasing low ball found no takers as Alloa set out to defend their slender advantage.

Into the final ten minutes and Hamill's low, bouncing free-kick was tipped round the post before Morgyn Neill saw his header blocked in the six yard box.

There would be two final chances in stoppage time with Okoh not quite getting on the end of a cross before Neill very almost salvaged a point.

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The centre half became centre forward and got on the end of a long ball before drilling an effort on goal from the edge of the box.

Parry managed to get himself behind it to tip the shot away and any chance of a point disappeared with it.

Stranraer's poor run in Clackmannanshire now stretches to 12 games without victory.

The last time they picked up all three points at Alloa was in October 2004 when David Graham's first half double set them on their way to a 2-1 win.

Alloa Athletic: Parry, Taggart, Crane, Graham, J Robertson, Fleming, Stewart, Hetherington, Flannigan, Renton (Malcolm 77), Crossan (Martin 82).
Not used: Hoggan, Cunningham, Monaghan and Wilson.

Stranraer: Belford, S Robertson, Dick, Neill, Hamill, Woods (Turner 75), Bell, Anderson (Stoney 88), Beith, Wallace, Thomson (Okoh 68).
Not used: McGowan, Elliott, Gray and McLaren.

Referee: Stephen Finnie.
Attendance: 449
HT: 0-0