Dundee United’s ambition was as narrow as the pitch at Alloa on Saturday.
Had they aimed higher than they did on the slimmed down plastic surface at the Indodrill Stadium then they could have been sitting joint top of the Championship.
They should have been fired up and determined to send out a message to the rest of the league that they will be right in the promotion mix come May.
Instead, they didn’t want the win enough and blew the chance of gathering some serious momentum following successive victories over Queen of the South and Partick Thistle.
Backed by three-quarters of the 1,616 crowd, they should have been on the front foot from the off and shown the hosts that the decision to slice a few yards off each side of the park wouldn’t bother them.
It didn’t turn out like that, though, starting with the poor header back to goal from Frederic Frans that almost gifted the Wasps an opener after just three minutes.
That was the first of the mistakes and the malaise continued until half-time, with United only really starting to play a bit after the break.
Even then they let Alloa back into the game and when Paul Watson headed the Tangerines ahead on 71 minutes – his third goal in two games – it was against the run of play.
It could have been a lot rosier for United had Yannick Loemba’s “goal” been allowed to stand rather than controversially ruled out for offside.
However, they couldn’t see the game out and the home team got what was a deserved equaliser on 82 minutes thanks to a terrific freekick.
Iain Flannigan, who had struck the bar earlier, curled home a cracker after Stewart Murdoch had conceded a foul.
As the Tannadice players traipsed off the skinny surface at full-time, manager Csaba Laszlo was left wondering why his players were incapable of building on the two successes against Queens and Thistle.
The United boss said: ““I think I must be fair and say, at the end of the day, it was a fair result.
“In the first half we were not as sharp as we must be.
“In the second it was better.
“We went in front and we just had to keep the result.
“This was a game we definitely had to control after the opening goal.
“If you play away from home and you take one point sometimes it’s OK but I am not really happy about the result.
“We were in front. You have just to keep the ball and keep the result.
“It was a dirty game but one which, really, if you want to make the top league you have to manage all the time and finish it off.
“This is not about dominating the game – it’s about winning the game.
“We go home and we are angry that we lost two points.”
United’s goal came from a corner delivered by Fraser Aird and, like his manager, the Canadian wasn’t happy with how the Tangerines played.
Aird said: “I think the boys know we can do a lot better.
“We didn’t perform as well as we know we can.
“We took the lead and maybe thought we could get out with a 1-0 but it didn’t work out.
“Alloa narrowed the pitch to suit themselves and then battled very hard but we can do a lot better.”
As for home boss Jim Goodwin, the Irishman thought his side deserved more than just a point.
He said: I thought we were the better team and that’s no disrespect to Dundee United, who are a good team.
“So I am slightly disappointed with a draw, to be honest, because I felt we should have won the game.
“A few people are expecting us to finish bottom of the table but I genuinely believe we will do bteer than expected this season.
“Anybody that was here will have seen how well we played. I felt a little bit angry in the dressing room afterwards because I felt it was two points dropped.”