Alloa has proven to be an unhappy hunting ground for Derek Ure’s Shire having lost 2-0 to Stephen Swift’s side at the end of last season. Swift also ensured Ure’s inaugural season as Shire manager ended on a sour note when he defeated his counterpart’s side 2-1 in the Lowland League Cup final.
However, the side that suffered those defeats has been ruthlessly cut down and replaced with a group of players the club insist can help propel them towards not only title success, but also promotion.
Misplaced passes and mistimed runs culminated in an opening 20 minutes to forget for those in attendance as both sides struggled to make an impact.
A major criticism of Shire last season stemmed from an inability to be clinical in the most decisive games.
However, with 25 minutes gone and with neither side coming close to threatening an opener, Jordan Tapping provided that clinical edge. The Shire defender found himself unmarked at a corner to head home Mark Millar’s teasing delivery and, in the process, vindicate Ure’s decision to bring him back to the club.
Tapping’s opener relaxed the visitors, with new boys Millar, Nicky Low and Bobby Barr showing their class as they sought to unpick a characteristically resolute BSC backline. However, despite Shire’s newfound pomp, they had to settle for a one goal advantage at the break.
After an indifferent opening to the second half, the home side were gifted a route back into the game when Adam Murray was adjudged to have fouled Tom Orr in the box despite the Shire defender looking as though he had won the ball cleanly. Orr dispatched the resulting penalty with aplomb to further infuriate the aggrieved visitors.
Orr’s equaliser seemed to antagonise both sets of players with former Shire player Robbie McNab guilty of more than a few hacks at the impressive Low. The former Aberdeen and Queen of the South player returned the favour as the referee struggled to contain a game that threatened to boil over.
Persistent fouling stifled any attacking play in the closing exchanges with both sides having to settle for an opening draw. Derek Ure, while frustrated with the manner of BSC’s equaliser, will be pleased by his side’s ability to tough out a draw, but knows that wins are required if they are to challenge the upper reaches of the table this season.