Inverness CT 0 - 1 FC Astra Giurgiu

Europa League - Q2-Leg1
Thursday, July 16th, 2015, 7:45 PM at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness
Attendance: 5,534
Referee: Ken Henry Johnsen (NOR)
Inverness CT  FC Astra Giurgiu

None. Constantin Budescu (24)

Team Managers
John Hughes Marius Șumudică

Starting Eleven
Owain Fon Williams
Josh Meekings
Gary Warren
Daniel Devine
Aaron Doran
Greg Tansey
Ross Draper
Ryan Christie
Danny Williams
Nat Wedderburn
Dani Lpez
Silvio Lung
Geraldo Alves
Takayuki Seto
Gabriel Enache
Constantin Budescu
Junior Morais
Fernando Baldrin
Valerica Gaman
Filipe Teixeira
Pedro Queiros
William Amorim

Ryan Esson
David Raven
Liam Polworth
Jason Brown
Lewis Horner
Jordan Roberts
Richie Foran
George Gavrilas
Constantin Florea
Cristian Oros
Florin Lovin
Alexandru Dandea
Ricardo Alves
Alexandru Stan

David Raven for Josh Meekings (80)
Jordan Roberts for Ross Draper (81)
Richie Foran for Dani Lpez (84)
Cristian Oros -> Valerica Gaman (47)
Alexandru Stan -> Gabriel Enache (71)
Constantin Florea -> Constantin Budescu (82)

Josh Meekings (64)
Jordan Roberts (87)
Constantin Budescu (37)
Pedro Queiros (88)

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Owain Fon Williams (GK) 1 app (debut) -
Gary Warren 120 apps12 goals
Josh Meekings 149 apps4 goals
Daniel Devine 39 apps1 goal
Ross Draper 120 apps7 goals
Ryan Christie 60 apps7 goals
Greg Tansey 103 apps16 goals
Aaron Doran 153 apps20 goals
Nat Wedderburn 1 app (debut) -
Danny Williams 66 apps4 goals
Dani Lpez 1 app (debut) -
David Raven (sub) 115 apps2 goals
Jordan Roberts (sub) 1 app (debut) -
Richie Foran (sub) 199 apps44 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Daniel Devine (22 years 317 days)
Oldest Player:Danny Williams (2016 years 352 days)
Average Player Age:26 years 256 days
Domestic Players:6 (54.55 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Jason Brown (19 years 13 days)
Oldest Player:Ryan Christie (2016 years 352 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 349 days
Domestic Players:12 (66.67 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts
Dani Lpez(Signed )
Nat Wedderburn(Signed )
Owain Fon Williams(Signed July 16th, 2015)
Jordan Roberts(Signed )


Astra Edge First Leg:

Inverness' first dabble at competitive European football ended in a first leg defeat at the hands of FC Astra from Romania. Maybe they should rename the club Astraturf as they spent plenty time lying on the grass for no apparent reason, although there is a decent football side lurking in there somewhere

The visitors secured a valuable away win from a set piece where debut keeper Owain Fon Williams might feel he could have done better than to palm Constantin Budescu's on target shot high into the net. Despite plenty of effort, the home side could not get their first Euro goal with Doran going closest with a curling effort late in the second half.

John Hughes sprung a Euro surprise by putting new signing, keeper Owain Fon Williams straight into the starting line-up at the expense of cup final hero Ryan Esson. Danni Lopez and Nat Wedderburn also made their competitive debut's in a much changed side. No starts for David Raven, Carl Tremarco, Jordan Roberts, Richie Foran or Liam Polworth. Josh Meekings played at right back and Danny Williams looked to be in Graeme Shinnie's position at left back. Danny Devine and Garry Warren were the central defenders. Doran, Tansey, Draper and Wedderburn were the midfield with Ryan Christie backing up new front man Lopez.

Astra were mainly an unknown quantity but we had been warned about Constantin Budescu prior to the game.

Bagpipes welcomed the 5,500 plus crowd and the stage was set for our Euro adventure to begin.

There was little between the sides in a tentative opening to the game played in front of a healthy crowd and Christie and Doran looked lively in the opening jousting. Christie spun outside the box but his hasty shot was deflected wide as Inverness controlled the pace of the game.

Our ball retention was decent, but the downside of this was a lack of penetration in the final third. Lopez looked comfortable with his back to the goal, but his lack of match sharpness was evident. Astra were reluctant to be drawn forward but when they did, they looked pacey enough to offer a threat, especially Brazilian wide player William.

The goal we didn't want came after 24 minutes when Ross Draper, tracking back made a needless challenge when two other defenders looked favourite to clear the danger. Budescu took the free kick and lifted it up and over the wall and slightly right of debutant keeper Williams. He appeared slow to react and when he did, he only succeeded in palming the ball high behind him for a disappointing goal to lose, considering the shot appeared to be fairly tame and routine.

It was a game void of opportunities and the half ended with Inverness toiling to make much headway, and Astra content to pick us off as we edged our way across the park, goal scorer Budescu the main threat and wide player William looking dangerous on the break.

Half Time 0-1

The second half saw Inverness play towards a packed North Stand and they approached the game with more urgency from the whistle. Doran and Christie were still looking the most likely to carve open an opportunity for Yogi's lads and the Inverness corner count was mounting as Astra looked content to sit on their advantage.

Visiting keeper Lung was fortunate when he made a meal of a low shot from Doran. He flapped at the bouncing ball and managed to divert it for a corner much to his relief, and the groans of the crowd behind him.

Danny Williams fired a shot from distance that was always too high but with plenty of power as Inverness pressed forward but it was Astra that almost sneaked a second goal on the break. Left winger William was fed through by Budescu as they came out of their Hamilton Accies like shell and broke forward at pace down the left. William should have done better than hit the outside of the post as he bore down on Fon Williams. A let off for Inverness.

Aaron Doran spurned the best chance for Inverness when he received the ball inside the box on the left side. From 15 yards he picked his spot with a trademark Doran curler. Unfortunately that spot was a yard wide of the post with the target at his mercy.

Danni Lopez was sent through on the Inverness right but he shot as he entered the box on the angle and Lung easily gathered the effort. Oh how we were crying out for a bit of Marley's pace going forward.

The game drifted away from us as Astra killed the tie down the touchline and despite our best efforts on the night, it was not to be.

Full Time 0-1

It was not to be on the night as Inverness fell just short. Good effort by the hastily constructed side and still plenty to play for yet. Plenty of pretty passing but unfortunately a lack of penetration, and the goal from a set piece left a nasty taste in the mouth.

Williams for Esson; I'm not convinced that was the smartest trick Yogi has pulled. Makeshift defence coped well for the most part, Meekings a bit like a fish out of water at times on the right. Wedderburn did well and looks like a heavyweight boxer. Match fitness will do him no harm, likewise Lopez on the fitness side. Draper will be disappointed at gifting the free kick from which they scored and some of his general play and passing was pre-season at best. Our best performers on the night were Doran and Warren with Ryan Christie being the pick of our players for a lively and intelligent European debut.

Biggest cheer of the night was reserved for the return of Richie Foran. Good to see him back in the last six minutes, although the game was slowly running away from us as the Romanians were content to stay on the turf for an extra roll after tumbling over rather tamely. That's European football for you.

Overall, Inverness can pat themselves on the back after their Euro debut where they matched a decent side who showed them some new tricks. It will be a difficult task to try and overcome the deficit, but at 1-0, there's still plenty to play for. By the way, the new strips look pretty kool.

Onwards to Astra for the return leg where there will be a sizeable following making the trek. Win or lose, I'm sure everyone will enjoy the occasion.

Match report written by tm4tj


Programme cover / Team sheet