For five short minutes Inverness were proudly perched at the Championship summit.
Had heads remained clear and cool, they would have been assured of warm praise and plaudits after a successful first quarter of the season.
Instead, concentration lapses proved costly and the post-match post-mortem from manager John Robertson assumed a much colder tone.
Robertson refused to point fingers at individuals, publicly at least, but was exasperated by the team’s failure to defend solidly and sensibly in closing moments in which Alan Trouten rescued a point for Alloa.
In all fairness, the Wasps had again produced some good moments of their own in Inverness, just as they had in twice hitting the woodwork and troubling the hosts seven days earlier in the Challenge Cup. But this, again, should have been a match where Caley Thistle exerted their superiority to punish much more harshly the failings of title rivals Dundee United and Ayr United, who both lost.
Robertson said: “Today would have been fabulous in respect of making a statement that there’s Dundee United, Ayr and Dundee beaten, but Inverness won again.
“That’s the annoying part for me. I’m disappointed for the fans and disappointed for the players because with 60 seconds to go we should be able to defend a long throw.
“Had we defended it, we could have been sitting proudly at the top of the Championship.
“It is annoying for me and for the staff because it was a poor decision that led to the throw-in and an even worse one that the one big guy Alloa have in the box was allowed to get a free run and flick-on.
“We’ve switched off and it has cost us the chance of being top of the league, which is hugely disappointing.”
There was energy from Alloa, though, in a bright start and they wasted little time in inflicting an early blow on the hosts.
That opener enabled the Wasps to get behind the ball and frustrate Caley Thistle with great discipline in the away side’s defending.
A well-worked passing move on the right after five minutes ended with Kevin Cawley playing Liam Buchanan into space in the home box.Veteran Buchanan reacted swiftly to curl an eight-yard finish across from the left of the penalty area to the far right corner of the net with keeper Mark Ridgers helpless.
The hosts reacted immediately, with Miles Storey’s cross from the right finding young Roddy MacGregor sending a diving header towards the bottom corner of the net, only for keeper Jamie MacDonald to push it away.
But Alloa always retained a threat on the break, with one Buchanan attempt deflecting into Ridgers’ arms from a tight angle.
Early in the second half, Charlie Trafford’s deflected through ball sent Jordan White away, but the big striker was a little cumbersome on the run and Alloa’s Steven Hetherington got a vital toe-in to skew the attempt wide.
The Wasps still looked capable of a second sting.
A Buchanan strike from distance squirmed dangerously through the grasp of Mark Ridgers, while the same striker curled an attempt on to the roof of the net soon after.
Just after the hour, though, the hosts began the fightback.
Carl Tremarco took a corner on the right, knocked back to him by Shaun Rooney. With a crowded area expecting a cross, Tremarco unleashed a ferocious strike that tore high past Jamie MacDonald into the top corner.
Andy Graham went close with a header for Alloa, but there was precious little from either side until a dramatic final spell.
Tremarco produced more magic to create a home lead after 85 minutes with the Liverpudlian’s perfect curling cross finding White diving to head home from six yards.
Home supporters checking their mobile phones for scorelines wore smiles, but those were soon wiped away as a long throw by Adam Brown was flicked on by big Andy Graham.
There at the far post was Trouten and he side-footed into the net to knock the stuffing out of what might have been a end-of-quarter mini-celebration for Inverness.