Inverness CT 1 - 1 Dundee Utd

League Match
Sunday, January 12th, 2014, 12:45 PM at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium
Attendance: 2,980
Referee: John Beaon
Inverness CT  Dundee Utd

Goalscorers
Billy Mckay (5)
Keith Watson (10)

Team Managers
John Hughes Jackie McNamara

Starting Eleven
Dean Brill
Josh Meekings
Gary Warren
David Raven
Carl Tremarco
Nick Ross
Graeme Shinnie
Aaron Doran
Liam Polworth
Danny Williams
Billy Mckay
Radoslaw Cierzniak
Gavin Gunning
Keith Watson
Jon Souttar
Andrew Robertson
Paul Paton
John Rankin
Stuart Armstrong
Gary Mackay-Steven
Chris Erskine
Brian Graham

Substitutes
Ryan Esson
Daniel Devine
Joe Gorman
Conor Pepper
Ryan Christie
Ben Greenhalgh
Adam Evans
Mark McCallum
Sean Dillon
Calum Butcher
Ryan Gauld
Morgaro Gomis
Ryan Dow
Farid El Alagui

Substitutions
Ryan Christie for Nick Ross (81)
Ben Greenhalgh for Danny Williams (87)
Farid El Alagui -> Brian Graham (51)
Ryan Gauld -> Stuart Armstrong (83)

Bookings
Billy Mckay (86)
None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Dean Brill (GK) 23 apps -
Josh Meekings 85 apps -
David Raven 55 apps -
Gary Warren 60 apps8 goals
Carl Tremarco 12 apps -
Danny Williams 14 apps -
Liam Polworth 18 apps -
Nick Ross 128 apps9 goals
Aaron Doran 96 apps11 goals
Graeme Shinnie 123 apps4 goals
Billy Mckay 92 apps48 goals
Ryan Christie (sub) 2 apps -
Ben Greenhalgh (sub) 6 apps -

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Liam Polworth (19 years 97 days)
Oldest Player:Nick Ross (2015 years 167 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 359 days
Domestic Players:6 (54.55 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Ryan Christie (18 years 326 days)
Oldest Player:Conor Pepper (2015 years 167 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 218 days
Domestic Players:12 (66.67 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts

Milestones

Point apiece about right:

Inverness and Dundee United shared the points as two early goals were all to show despite plenty of endeavour from both sides. United hit the woodwork twice while Inverness passed up a goalden opportunity to win it with a late penalty, but Nick Ross shot tamely at Cierzniak in the United goal. Billy McKay opened the scoring in the fifth minute but Keith Watson rose unchallenged to power home the equaliser after ten minutes and that was the end of the scoring, but not the entertainment.

The previously reliable Dean Brill provided the comedy with a series of blunders that could have been more damaging but he just about got away with it, however the watching TV audience will not forget his show in a hurry. John Hughes was the warm up act, cracking his forehead open as McKay scored the opener, much to the muted delight of the Inverness bench.

AJS will have a full match report for us...............................

Point gained but Yogi still yearns for home win

John Hughes search for a first home win as Caley Thistle boss continues as both ICT and Dundee United had to settle for a point and stretch their winless runs to 5 games a piece. Hughes has had plenty to contend with in recent games following a host of injuries and also the loss of Ross Draper to suspension and with a United coming into town looking to put to bed their own poor form it was always going to be a hotly contested game. 

Following the poor performance against County Yogi shuffled the pack. David Raven was restored to the starting 11 with Graeme Shinnie reverting to holding midfield following the loss of Draper, Danny Williams moved from the middle to left wing, his natural position. United had the luxury of calling upon new signing Farid El Alagui who joined on loan from Brentford during the week. The Moroccan striker arrives at Tannidice bragging an impressive 28 goals in 44 games during his season long stint with Falkirk but struggled to find regular form and games following a move to Brentford, he was looking to make an immediate impact. 

The match itself got off to a fast start with ICT racing into the lead within the first 5 minutes. Billy McKay won a corner out on the left which was swung in by Williams. It was well won in the air by Warren and fell to McKay who reacted before Cierzniak could to rifle it into the bottom corner from just a few yards out. It was the perfect start for the home side who were looking to put to bed a run of form that had seen 3 consecutive defeats at TCS. Almost immediately following Aaron Doran found time and space to set himself for a shot from distance but unfortunately from himself he dragged it well wide of the mark.

United sniffed out their first chance of the game when Graeme Shinnie was judged to have fouled Chris Erskine on the edge of the box. The angle was tight but Stuart Armstrong struck a powerful, low drive that Brill could only parry and following a brief scramble the ball was thumped out for a corner by Liam Polworth. The first one was cleared by Shinnie but the 2nd proved fatal as United snatched a quick leveller through Keith Watson. Gary Mackay-Steven drifted it in and Watson lost Tremarco to power his header into the net beyond a despairing Brill, Watson, a full back has 4 goals to his name this season, two of which have been scored at the same end at TCS.

It was anyone's game now with both sides looking to get the next goal. Both sides were doing their bit to get their wide players on the ball as much as possible, Mackay-Steven was digging out some nice crosses for the away side while likewise Williams and Doran were for the hosts but struggling to find anyone in space. 

The hosts almost found another opening. Graeme Shinnie seized upon a poor clearance from Cierzniak and following an exchange of play with Ross he found Billy McKay on the wing, his knock down almost fell perfectly for Shinnie on the edge of the area but Gavin Gunning was alert to the danger and hoofed the ball clear. 

United then passed up a golden chance to turn the game on its head through Brian Graham. A corner from Mackay-Steven forced Brill to punch it clear, but it only fell as far as Rankin who's fizzing shot was heading to the bottom corner only to be diverted away by Gary Warren, his clearance fell to Graham and with Brill already committing himself to Rankin's shot he had an empty net at his pleasure but somehow managed to only steer his shot onto the post, following a brief scramble the ball was cleared and the big man's chance was gone. 

Gary Mackay-Steven was next to test the home goal, Stuart Armstrong's neat reverse ball found the diminutive, little winger with a shot at goal on his stronger left foot but with the angle tight it was well gathered by Brill. 

Billy McKay almost doubled his tally for the match only to be thwarted by a terrific save from Cierzniak. Aaron Doran was fed the ball by Raven and he picked out a delightful cross to the back post which was met well by McKay who rose well and thought he was surely finding the corner only for United's Polish stopper to pull out a wonderful fingertip save. Nick Ross also came close when Ravens low ball in found him at the edge of the area, he managed to turn his man but on his weaker left foot he struck it straight at Cierzniak who gathered it with little fuss.

Not before too long the first half was brought to an end in what was a well contested encounter between both sides.

Half Time - 1-1

In the early stages of the 2nd half it was ICT who began the game stronger, much as they did in the first half. Billy McKay had another header that he would perhaps feel he could have got a goal from. The opportunity came in rather unorthodox circumstances. David Raven won a 50-50 challenge with Robertson and despite being on his backside managed to feed a cheeky flick on to Aaron Doran who's teasing cross was met by the head of MacKay once again but his swerving header was held by Cierzniak. 

The game was then brought to a halt after Brian Graham suffered what appeared to be a rather serious injury. Having gone up for a header with Josh Meeking's the Tangerines big number nine appeared to land awkwardly and seemed to be in a great deal on pain. Following a lengthy spell on of treatment and the need for a stretcher his afternoon was brought to an unfortunate and premature end. Replacing him was Farid El Alagui  who was brought on to make his debut for the away side. 

With play resumed ICT had another chance to regain the lead and what a golden opportunity it was. Danny Williams in swinging corner was met at the back post by Gary Warren. He scored a bullet header in the cup tie between the two sides back in October but this time he saw his header fall wide of the post despite being only a couple of yards out. The man knows himself...he should have scored. 

Dean Brill almost gifted United the lead in what would have been rather humiliating circumstances to say the least. Many who are fans of football bloopers on Youtube will remember Peter Enckelman's missed touch in the Birmingham derby several years ago. Poor Deano was very close to replicating it when he misjudged the bounce on Shinnie's back pass but much to the relief of himself, his team and his supporters pride he managed to dash back and force it clear before it could cross the line.

ICT then spurned chance of the game just after the hour mark. A lovely exchange of passing between Shinnie and Ross saw the latter produce a lovely through ball back to Shinnie who had a sight of goal only to be tripped by John Souttar and earn the home side a penalty. Nick Ross stepped up having converted his last 2 penalties but today was not to be his day. He struck it powerfully enough but did not get enough direction on it and after Cierzniak got a firm punch to it the ball was cleared and the chance was gone.

The away side were beginning to see more of the ball and grow in confidence with John Rankin flashing a 30 yard drive just wide of Brills goal. Chris Erskine came even closer for the visitors when Mackay-Stevens low ball gave him a great opportunity to find the net but United's day was to be foiled by the woodwork as his curling, side foot effort came back off the post before Warren hooked it clear. 

With ICT having had a penalty, United felt they should have had spot kick themselves when Mackay-Steven was locked in a chase for the ball with Warren. Warren appeared to be pulling at GMS's shirt but the wee man did his best to stay on his feet and get a shot away and in fairness to him did not complain at the decision to award a corner instead. El Alagui came close from the corner with a header but with a lack of purchase his effort was gratefully cradled by Brill. 

With the game entering the final stages both sides made changes. United bringing on teenage sensation Ryan Gauld while ICT also threw on fellow youngster Ryan Christie who will be surely looking to make similar headlines now he has made the first team picture. Ben Greenhalgh was also brought on for Danny Williams as the home side looked to make a move to win the game and with a lengthy amount of stoppage time added on it was understandable.

Following a lot of pressing the ball eventually fell back to Tremarco who did well to pick out Doran with a chip cross, Doran turned to shoot on his left foot but could only find the side netting. Ben Greenhalgh also turned out to be an unintentional match winner when his deep cross appeared to be hitting the back of the net and forced Cierzniak to parry it out and from the resulting corner he gathered well among a see of blue and orange. Ryan Christie was nearly a super sub once again when Tremarco skipped past a challenge and found him with a nice cross but Christie's header floated over and with that the game was brought to an end.

Full Time 1-1

To summarize :- it was an entertaining game, lots of corners, lost of scrambles and lots of chances. Both teams would have liked to win given recent form but in the end I think neither it became more about not losing, though a missed penalty is always rather gutting and given the ease of some chances served up both sides will feel they could have won. Given that our team was decrepit without the likes of Foran, Watkins, Draper and Vincent I'd say we coped very well. In particular it was very pleasing to see Polworth and Christie blooded into the first team, both look promising prospects and their progress will be monitored with great interest. Yogi tactically got it right, restoring Raven was the right move and shifting Williams back to his natural position saw a much improved performance from the Lancashire lad compared to recent weeks, though Greenhalgh showed some neat touches when coming on. Plenty positives to take and the rot has been stopped - onwards and upwards from here. 

AJS MotM - David Raven - shored up the right back position, put in some cracking tackles and was unlucky not be providing some goals for his team mates. Its essential that he stays in the starting 11 from now on.

Match report written by tm4tj/AJS



None.

Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Celtic 20 17 3 0 45 12 33 54
2. Aberdeen 22 14 2 6 33 19 14 44
3. Motherwell 21 14 1 6 32 25 7 43
4. Dundee Utd 22 9 7 6 39 24 15 34
5. Inverness CT 20 10 4 6 28 19 9 34
6. St. Johnstone 21 8 4 9 27 23 4 28
7. Hibernian 22 7 7 8 19 20 -1 28
8. Kilmarnock 21 6 3 12 25 34 -9 21
9. St. Mirren 21 5 5 11 20 36 -16 20
10. Partick Thistle 21 4 7 10 20 36 -16 19
11. Ross County 21 5 3 13 23 39 -16 18
12. Hearts 22 3 4 15 15 39 -24 13