Football: Alloa fenced in by hungry Rangers

Rangers 4 Alloa Athletic 0
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The Independent Online
NOBODY ROOTS for Goliath. While this was a more comfortable victory than even the scoreline would suggest, Alloa, from the Second Division, will take more out of this game than Rangers. The cheque for this League Cup tie will be put towards a new boundary fence at Recreation Park, and will also help to reduce the overdraft, while for Rangers, the exercise was a necessary step towards Thursday's fourth-round draw.

These games invariably produce either tight contests or a comfortable victory for the big team, so after losing a goal with less than two minutes played, Alloa could have been forgiven a greater sense of inferiority than they already felt.

That early strike was a header by Lorenzo Amoruso from a corner that saw the ball hit the ground, bounce up and go in off the underside of the cross bar. Rangers thereafter dictated the game, but a combination of sloppy play and resolute defending, as well as luck, kept the score unaltered until shortly before half-time.

Rangers lost the services of Colin Hendry through injury in the eighth minute but the overall pattern was largely unaltered. Gabriel Amato, the Argentinian striker, wasted several opportunities, none better than in the 39th minute when he chested down a cross with no defender close and drove the ball against the heel of the exposed Mark Cairns.

Two minutes later Rangers scored their second goal when Barry Ferguson drove a low shot into the corner of the net from a Rod Wallace cut-back.

Rangers created several chances at the start of the second half before taking a 3-0 lead. Ferguson headed over and Wallace came close before Jorg Albertz extended the advantage. From a free-kick 25 yards out the German midfielder unleashed a mighty left-footed shot and the ball slammed into the top corner of the net.

It was becoming all too easy for the home side, and Albertz underlined that fact by scoring Ranger's fourth goal eight minutes from time with a trademark powerful drive with his left foot.

Rangers (4-4-2): Charbonnier; Porrini, Hendry (Moore, 8) Amoruso, Numan; Gattuso, B Ferguson, Van Bronckhorst, Albertz; Wallace (Miller, 62), Amato. Substitute not used: I Ferguson.

Alloa Athletic (5-4-1): Cairns; Wilson, McCulloch (Haddow, 45), Valentine, McAneny, Nelson; Ramsay (McKay, 71), Irvine, Pew, McKechnie (Cameron, 71); Simpson.

Referee: J Rowbotham (Kirkcaldy).