Alloa Athletic 3 Kelty Hearts 0

STEFAN McCLUSKEY conceded Kelty Hearts are “in a relegation battle” after losing 3-0 to Alloa Athletic.

Kelty were hoping to bounce back from a heavy defeat to Hamilton Accies the week before, but a slow start proved costly as Taylor Steven slotted one past Kyle Gourlay to put Alloa in front.

The Hearts held on until half time, but Kurtis Roberts doubled the hosts’ lead with a tap in at the near post just past the hour mark.

With Annan Athletic beating Queen of the South to close the relegation gap play-off, it looks like it could be a tight battle down the bottom of the table, one Kelty unfortunately find themselves a part of.

“It was very tough,” McCluskey said. “I think the goals we gave away were so soft.

“To be honest, I don’t think we deserved anything out the game – Alloa were better and it was the right outcome.

“The gaffer was saying there, we’re in a relegation battle now. We’re not looking up, we’re looking under us to see who is coming.

“We need to get a win from somewhere and try to kick on for the rest of the season.”

Alloa controlled the ball for large parts of the proceedings, with Kelty reduced to spectators at times.

McCluskey explained that Kelty’s lack of attacking efforts was a particular source of frustration for them.

He added: “That’s the most frustrating thing because in training we’re working on attacking constantly.

“We’re looking good and then it comes to a Saturday and in the last few weeks, we don’t even look as if we’re going to score.

“We started the game very, very slowly – I think everyone watching could probably see that.

“We came into the game a bit when we went 1-0 down, but they stepped it up and it looked as if they were more on the ascendancy to score another.”

The final nail in the coffin for Kelty came when Botti Biabi was deemed to have fouled Alloa captain Scott Taggart.

The referee awarded Alloa a penalty on the cusp of full time, with Taggart making no mistake from the spot to make it three.

“It wasn’t a penalty,” McCluskey added. “I’m not going to lie. I said that to the ref on the pitch.

“All game, he kept saying when they got corners that he was watching us round about the keeper.

“I don’t know if their player just fell, there wasn’t anything in it. I think he got it wrong.”

Kelty face a tough task this Saturday as they welcome Cove Rangers to New Central Park.

Cove have suffered a similar poor run of form recently, dropping out of the play-off positions and incurring a heavy 4-1 defeat to Montrose at home.

Both teams go into next Saturday looking to bounce back and get their seasons back on track, with McCluskey adding that Kelty will do all they can to make sure it’s them.

He said: “It’s two teams who have suffered bad defeats, it’s just whoever can pick up and go get the win.

“We want to do everything to do that.”