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RM Match Report: Forres Mechanics 0-1 Rangers


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RANGERS made their way up to Moray to play Forres Mechanics for only the second time in the clubs 140 year history.

Rangers lined up with Alexander in goal; an unchanged defence of Faure, Perry, Cribari and Wallace; a flat midfield four of Argyriou, MacLeod, Hutton and Aird; with Naismith making his first start alongside McCulloch up front.

As is all too common for away games this season, Rangers made a very poor start to the game with the wind in their faces and it was Forres pushing foward early on and had a weak penalty shout in the first minute turned down.

Lee McCulloch was the first to have a half chance for the visitors as Kal Naismith played him behind the Forres defence, but the ball was cleared for a corner. Fraser Aird's corner led to a sloppy show of defending from Forres but they did manage to clear their lines.

Only minutes later Forres again broke in to the Rangers box and some last ditch defending from Ross Perry prevented Neil Alexander being called in to action. Shaky stuff from the Rangers defence.

Lee McCulloch was rolling back the years and playing right on the shoulder and route one definitely seemed to be the preferred tactic in the first 10 minutes at least.

As Forres only has one stand - which barely covers the diameter of the centre circle - it only took 8 minutes to lose the first ball of the game as Ross Perry knocked it right over the A96.

Shortly after Kyle Hutton showed good strength in midfield to send Wallace down the left flank and Rangers won their second corner of the game.

Rangers didn't wait long to get in to gear and take the lead as Fraser Aird went flying down the left wing, leaving his man for dead. His low cross was flicked by McCulloch before falling to Kal Naismith who bagged his first Rangers goal on his first start and got the Rangers going on 13 minutes.

The game settled down for the remainder of the first quarter, with neither side really able to make an impression.

There was a scare for Rangers from the first Forres corner on 30 minutes. Neil Alexander came flying out and got nowhere near the ball, which was thankfully headed over. Alexander's protests for a foul to be given for a push on him were ignored by referee, Crawford Allan.

The 1-0 goal lead was not looking likely to be increased with half time looming, as Forres were being allowed to gain more confidence. Nathan Sharp was allowed a free header from another Forres corner, with the Rangers defence fast asleep on 38 minutes. Neil Alexander saved comfortably before strongly telling his defence that he was not impressed by their inability to pick up the big Forres defender.

The yellow cards were starting to come flying out of Crawford Allan's top pocket just before half time as Forres were starting to try and physically disrupt the Rangers.

No changes were made at half time for either side and the second half began with the same pace as the first half finished.

The first chance of the second half did go to Forres and what a chance it was too. It took a great save from Neil Alexander to deny the home side their equaliser, after Kyle Hutton was booked for giving away the original freekick that led to the chance. Forres really should have been back in the game.

Ally McCoist didn't waste any time in changing things up following this let-off, as Anestis Argyriou made way with Kevin Kyle replacing him. It was Kevin Kyle that cleared the next Forres chance, as again the homeside had a dangerous set piece opportunity that they failed to make the most of.

The battles simply weren't being fought, let alone won, by the Rangers players and the game was becoming a real non-event.

Rangers were now playing with Kyle alone through the middle, with Aird and Naismith supporting from wide and Lee McCulloch moving back to central midfield.

Forres were reduced to ten men on 65 minutes after Lewis MacLeod broke forward, with Nathan Sharp sticking out a hand to end the run, receiving his second yellow from Crawford Allan. Surely now Rangers could start to dominate the game and book a place in the 3rd round? Don't be silly.

Robbie Crawford was the next to come off the bench for Rangers as Fraser Aird made way this time on 78 mins.

The substitutions had been the most exciting part of the second half for Rangers so far and I only wish I could have seen an action replay of Robbie Crawford entering the field of play for his 8th substitute appearance so far this season.

Robbie Crawford did almost increase the lead on 81 mins with Rangers making good head way down the right and MacLeod's cross was volleyed goalwards by Crawford, but the chance only resulted in a corner.

Forres were still looking for a way back in to the game, but Neil Alexander was confident in dealing with anything that came his way, especially in the air.

On 88 minutes Forres again went close from a header off yet another corner, but it fired wide of the post.

Thankfully, after 2 minutes of injury time, the game was over and the Rangers progressed to the Scottish Cup 3rd round.

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