Match Report - By Steven Mew
City bowed out of the William Hill Scottish Cup at the 3rd round stage as they were defeated comfortably by Championship side Alloa Athletic at the Indodrill Stadium yesterday afternoon.
Manager Barry Smith was looking for a reaction from his side following a crushing defeat against Arbroath last weekend, but he would be left disappointed as a slick Wasps side made light work of dumping City from the competition.
There was to be one change to the starting 11 from last weekend, with Jordan Sinclair making his first start since late September at the expense of Boris Melingui as Smith set his City side up to frustrate their higher league opponents in the first half.
The hosts won a free kick in a dangerous position just 10 seconds into the game after McGeever bundled down Greig Spence. Iain Flannigan, who netted a spectacular free kick against Dundee United in midweek was unable to repeat the feat as his effort from 25 yards flew harmlessly over the bar.
Several minutes later Kevin Cawley dragged a shot wide and shortly after, City keeper Brennan had to be alert and come off his line to deny ex-City favourite Alan Trouten.
Alloa continued to dictate play and put pressure on the City rearguard with Greig Spence having a shot deflected wide and from the resultant corner, Liam Dick knocked over the bar.
City had their best spell midway through the half. Jordan Sinclair played a ball through for Andy Jackson but with the angle narrowing, he was denied by Neil Parry who was out quickly to block the shot for a corner.
Kalvin Orsi was next to try his luck for City when he came inside from the left wing before unleashing a rasping shot from 25 yards which just flew past the post. Four minutes later, Aron Lynas burst forward but his effort rolled harmlessly wide.
On the half hour mark, a cross from the left hand side was headed straight at Brennan by Dario Zanatta. However, the on-loan Hearts man was not to be denied a minute later as the hosts broke the deadlock. A long ball was taken down by Robertson and he teed up DARIO ZANATTA on the edge of the box, the Canadian striker drilled a shot into the far corner to give the hosts a deserved lead.
Zanatta would be in the thick of the action again when he received a pass from Taggart inside the box and his shot was palmed away by Brennan.
The Wasps would come even closer when Greig Spence cut the ball back for Trouten 6 yards from goal, his intricate flick was cleared off the line by City skipper Ryan McGeever. A minute later a corner from the right resulted in a goalmouth scramble which the City defence eventually managed to clear.
With the home side dominating the first half in terms of possession and chances, Barry Smith changed the shape of his side at half time with Kalvin Orsi playing further up the park to support Andy Jackson who had cut an isolated figure upfront.
The tactical change would benefit City for the opening 15 minutes of the second half, having more of the ball albeit without creating any clear cut chances. However, any hopes City had of getting back into the game were dashed just before the hour mark as Alloa scored twice in as many minutes.
Dario Zanatta's low ball into the box was knocked back by Trouten into the path of GREIG SPENCE who volleyed into the net despite Brennan getting a touch to it.
The home side then made it three following a delightful passing move which involved both goalscorers. Spence played Zanatta into the box and he squared the ball across for ALAN TROUTEN who made no mistake from 8 yards out.
With their progress to the next round more or less secure, the Wasps took their foot off the gas and were content on keeping the lions share of possession for the remainder of the match.
City did have a couple of opportunities in the second half with Andy Jackson striking wide whilst substitute Giuliano Morena, who had replaced the tiring Jordan Sinclair, also missed the target with his volley from the edge of the box.
Alloa almost made it four in the closing stages of the game - the sliding Greig Spence was just inches away from connecting with Connor Shields low cross from the right.
Overall, City can have no complaints over the result and in truth it could have been more for a thoroughly impressive Alloa outfit who boasted an array of technically gifted players going forward.
Following the game, City Manager Barry Smith said, "We set up to try and frustrate Alloa. They are a very good team and there is no getting away from that, they've got good players and good attacking options.
"We were doing ok until the half hour mark and someone switches off and it's a goal, that set us back a wee bit. For the first 5-10 minutes of the second half we put a bit more pressure on them but then we concede the second goal. We couldn't afford to lose the third straight after.
"We have to be better and we will work to make sure we do get better. The boys know we are not accepting the last two results and in fairness a few have held their hand up and know it isn't good enough.
"We set a standard against Forfar and we've not seen it since - it's down to us to get back to that. Good teams will punish you, but average teams could punish the mistakes we are making at the moment."