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Reserves start with a win


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RANGERS got their Reserve League campaign underway with a win as Callum Gallagher’s strike gave them a single-goal win at Annan.

The away team was in control for much of the match and had a host of chances before the break in particular to succeed by a greater margin.

In the end coach Tommy Wilson had to settle for the narrow victory and his team did at least give him something to build upon.

The visitors lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Kyle Hutton deployed in a deep midfield role and new signing Francesco Stella on the left flank.

There were other first-teamers involved too including Kamil Wiktorski, Kal Naismith and Robbie Crawford, who signed a new long-term deal with Gers earlier in the day.

Stella had the first opportunity in the first few minutes when he made space for himself in the area to shoot from an unlikely angle and his effort whistle just past the far post.

At the other end, home forward Ally Barnes took advantage of a mistake in the Light Blues defence to home in on Scott Gallacher but he drove wide.

Back came Gers and Hutton tried his luck from distance but he never caught his effort well enough and it was always running well off target.

The game was swinging from end to end and once more Athletic responded well but again the shooting was wayward as Ally Love shot over the crossbar.

Determined to make up for his earlier discrepancy, Hutton was eager to try his luck again and did so from a similar range.

But once the 21-year-old he couldn’t put the direction he wanted to on his attempt and it remained 0-0.

Rangers were enjoying plenty of possession and seemed to settle fairly well on the artificial surface the first team will play on this weekend.

And their perseverance was rewarded midway through the first half when they took a deserved lead with a really well-worked goal.

Having failed to score himself, Hutton turned provider instead with an excellent pass between two players for Crawford to race on to.

He could have taken the chance on himself but with keeper Craig Summersgill closing him out, he passed instead for Gallagher to tap in.

Crawford nearly made it two seconds later when he was set up in a similar area by Fraser Aird but this time he was blocked.

The more the first period wore on, the more chances the Ibrox men had to add to their lead which they failed to take.

Stella was twice guilty of finding himself in on goal only to hold up and try to supply for someone else when he should have had a go.

Jordan Wilson was denied on the line, Luca Gasparotto drilled into the side netting and Naismith drove straight at Summersgill then headed wide.

The away side made a couple of changes to their line-up after the restart as Wiktorski and Stella were replaced by youngsters Gregor Fotheringham and Jamie Mills.

Nevertheless, they continued to dominate much of the game and although Annan tried to get back into the game, most of their attempts were from outside the area and harmless.

Chances were much less frequent in general as a combination of Athletic showing up better and Gers taking their foot off the gas led to a more even contest.

Substitute Mills had a really good opportunity to double the advantage as time began to run out but his shot lacked power and was smothered.

Gallagher could also have grabbed his second but he bent too far beyond the post then Mills missed again moments from the end, meaning it finished 1-0.

RANGERS: Gallacher; Aird, Gasparotto, McAusland, Wilson; Wiktorski (Fotheringham 51), Hutton; Naismith, Crawford, Stella (Mills 58); Gallagher.

:cgreen:

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