ALLOA Athletic will go into Saturday’s second-leg Championship semi-final against Brechin with a two-goal advantage thanks to second-half efforts from Michael Chopra and Kyle Benedictus.
Scorers: Chopra (56), Benedictus (90)
The Wasps looked the likelier side to score throughout, fully deserving their two-goal victory and they will fancy their chances of reaching the final if they can perform to the same standard against the Glebe Park men at the weekend.
Alloa had the first half-chance in the 19th minute when Benedictus picked up a defensive clearance at the edge of the City box and fired a shot just wide of City goalkeeper Graeme Smith’s right-hand post.
Chopra had a similar effort three minutes later when he pushed forward before trying a right-foot drive which went inches past.
The visitors then picked up the pace with Iain Flannigan and Liam Buchanan both firing shots wide of the target in quick succession and, in the 25th minute, a fierce Mark Docherty drive from 25 yards brought out a fine save from Smith.
City hit back and a Colin Hamilton 20-yard shot went past Wasps keeper John Gibson’s right-hand post but Alloa picked up the initiative again and Chopra flighted in a good cross from the right into the City box for Buchanan who directed his header just over the crossbar.
The visitors kept up the pressure and they were desperately unlucky not to grab the lead on the stroke of half-time when a Docherty free-kick was met by Flannigan whose header was bound for the bottom corner until Smith brought off a superb save to tip the ball round the post.
Alloa finally grabbed the opener with a great goal in the 56th minute, Ryan McCord flighted a teasing ball into the City box which was knocked back across the face of goal by Buchanan for Chopra who blasted a first-time volley past Smith.
City substitute Calum Tapping made an impact within a minutes of coming on when he won the ball wide on the right before flighting a great cross into the visitors’ penalty box which just flashed to safety.
Alloa were still enjoying the majority of pressure and possession and they nearly notched a second goal in the 85th minute when a superb cross from Kevin Cawley was scooped away by Smith with Buchanan ready to pounce. However, the Wasps wrapped up victory on the stroke of full-time when Benedictus headed home a Flannigan corner.
Brechin: Smith, McNeil, McLean, McLauchlan, Hamilton, Masson, Molloy, Fusco (Tapping 72), Barr, Andrew Jackson (Thomson 64), Trouten (Ferguson 86). Subs not used: O’Neil, Steven Jackson, Tough.
Alloa: Gibson, Doyle, Gordon, Benedictus, Meggatt, Cawley, McCord (Holmes 80), Flannigan, Docherty, Chopra (Layne 72), Buchanan (Spence 89). Subs not used: Hetherington, Asghar, Ferguson, Couser.