Motherwell 2 - 1 Inverness CT

League Match
Saturday, August 11th, 2007, 3:00 PM at Fir Park, Motherwell
Attendance: 4,259
Referee: Alan Freeland
Motherwell Inverness CT

O'Donnell (85)
McCormack (pen 90)
Ross Tokely (82)

Team Managers
Mark McGhee Charlie Christie

Starting Eleven
Michael Fraser
Richard Hastings
Ross Tokely
Grant Munro
Stuart McCaffrey
Roy McBain
Russell Duncan
Ian Black
Don Cowie
Dennis Wyness
Marius Niculae

Ally Ridgers
Ally MacDonald
Barry Wilson
Zander Sutherland
John Rankin
Graham Bayne
Dean McDonald

McCormack -> Porter (76) Graham Bayne for Dennis Wyness (63)
Dean McDonald for Marius Niculae (79)

Clarkson (33)
Fitzpatrick (61)
Paterson (88)
Don Cowie (27)
Russell Duncan (89)
Grant Munro (90)
Ian Black (90)

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Michael Fraser (GK) 22 apps -
Richard Hastings 302 apps3 goals
Ross Tokely 403 apps29 goals
Grant Munro 210 apps5 goals
Stuart McCaffrey 190 apps7 goals
Don Cowie 2 apps -
Roy McBain 266 apps15 goals
Ian Black 73 apps1 goal
Russell Duncan 222 apps6 goals
Marius Niculae 1 app (debut) -
Dennis Wyness 217 apps94 goals
Dean McDonald (sub) 2 apps -
Graham Bayne (sub) 105 apps17 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Ross Tokely (28 years 163 days)
Oldest Player:Don Cowie (2009 years 11 days)
Average Player Age:29 years 127 days
Domestic Players:10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Ross Tokely (28 years 163 days)
Oldest Player:Marius Niculae (2009 years 11 days)
Average Player Age:31 years 147 days
Domestic Players:17 (94.44 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts
Marius Niculae(Signed )


Charlie Christie, who was rumoured to have signed a new two year deal before the game, made three changes to the side that lost the previous week to Rangers

Out of the squad through injury went Rory McAllister and Barry Wilson and John Rankin were on the bench in favour of Don Cowie and Russell Duncan who started. Marius Niculae, with his work permit situation now resolved replaced Rory up front.

Motherwell were the first to attack when David Clarkson went close with a volley from 12 yards out in the first minute. Things settled down a little after that but it was Clarkson again who had the next chance in the game in 16 minutes when he got on the end of a Keith Lasley cross from only six yards out. Fortunately, Mike Fraser was alert and saved with ease.

At the other end, Inverness were making chances and Marius Niculae was putting himself about a fair bit but nothing was coming of it. Don Cowie took a succession of free-kicks between the 20th and 30th minute but although he put the Well defence under a little pressure, again they came to nothing even though one did end up at the feet of Niculae who attempted a shot at goal from nearly 30 yards out.

On the half hour mark, Caley Thistle had their best chance of the match so far. A Roy McBain corner was met by Ross Tokely but he headed narrowly wide under pressure from the Well defence.

5 minutes from half time, Caley Thistle had numerous chances after a flurry of corner kicks, First Cowie took one that was cleared by Fitzpatrick, then McBain took one which ended with a Cowie shot and a Smith save, then a minute later, after a tipping a Roy McBain effort round the post, Smith saved the resultant corner.

This was a game between two evenly matched sides and the second half had a similar feel to it. However, it was noticeable that Motherwell seemed to have picked up the pace a little and the Caley Jags were not getting as many chances as they had had in the first.

Having said that, it was Don Cowie who had the first real chance of the second half .... In 58 minutes, a Ross Tokely through ball fooled Mark Reynolds and Cowie got on the end of it and 20 yards from goal he decided to try and chip the keeper. It went agonisingly close, landing on the roof of the net !

In 62 minutes, Mike Fraser had to look lively to save a Keith Lasley effort. The ICT defence had been split wide open by some good Motherwell passing which resulted in Clarkson releasing Lasley but Mike Fraser saved the effort with his foot. [editors note: one of these quirky little things to keep an eye on !! for two weeks in a row now, Mike has saved a number of shots with his legs/feet as well as his hands]

A minute later, Wyness was replaced by Bayne up front and a minute after that, Motherwell again came close from David Clarkson. A Russell Duncan foul on Clarkson resulted in a free kick which Clarkson took himself. He passed it to McGarry who then crossed it back into the box. Clarkson got on the end of it but headed wide from 12 yards.

In 70 minutes, Chris Porter came close for the Steelmen. A Mark Reynolds near-post corner was headed just wide from six yards out. It was more or less Porter's last act in the game as he was replaced by Ross McCormack a few minutes later. Marius Niculae was also replaced before the end. Despite working hard throughout this game, it was clear he was not match fit and absolutely knackered so in 79 minutes the chance of a debut goal ended when he was replaced by Dean McDonald.

A couple of minutes later and that elusive goal arrived and it couldnt have been more of a contrast than the fans had hoped for or expected. Hoping for a strikers goal from a man making his club debut the fans instead got a defenders goal from a man who holds the club appearance record ... did the fans care ? of course not. it made it 0-1 !!!

The goal came from a free kick after Phil O'Donnell had fouled Graham Bayne. Don Cowie - who deserves praise for the effort and level of play he showed in what was also his debut for the club - stepped up to take the free kick and sent it to the far end of the box. Rossco was there to fire it home sweetly into the bottom corner of the net. not a classic goal, but one, so late on, that could and should have been the game winner.

The Motherwell of last season may have crumbled at losing a goal so late on, but instead, Mark McGhee's men went looking for an equaliser and it was Inverness who did the crumbling ! In 85 minutes, O'Donnell equalised for Well after he got his head to a Steve McGarry cross and sent it looping past Mike Fraser from close range.

If the game had ended there, none of the fans could really have complained at the result, two evenly matched teams sharing the spoils of a game where both had chances to win it. However, the game did not end there and it was heartbreak for Inverness right at the death when Well were awarded a penalty.

Skipper Grant Munro was adjudged to have pulled down David Clarkson in the box and referee Alan Freeland awarded a spot kick and booked Grant. Grant has vehemently denied pulling down the player and suggested that the Well man dived but even boss Charlie Christie admitted after the game that it looked like a penalty from where he was.

Ross McCormack stepped up to take the kick and made it 2-1 for Well and that is how it finished. For Caley Thistle, it was very frustrating and in addition to Cowie who was booked early in the game, a flurry of yellows in the last few minutes saw Duncan, Munro and Black also go into the referee' book.

With Gretna shipping 4 goals again this week despite leading 2-0 at Hibs, they still lurk in bottom spot on goal difference but both Inverness and St Mirren (our next opponents) have yet to put any points on the board in what is a disappointing start to the season.

Match report written by Site

Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Rangers 2 2 0 0 5 0 5 6
2. Hibernian 2 2 0 0 5 2 3 6
3. Motherwell 2 2 0 0 3 1 2 6
4. Celtic 2 1 1 0 4 1 3 4
5. Falkirk 2 1 0 1 5 4 1 3
6. Dundee Utd 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 3
7. Kilmarnock 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
8. Aberdeen 1 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0
9. Hearts 1 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0
10. St. Mirren 2 0 0 2 0 3 -3 0
11. Inverness CT 2 0 0 2 1 5 -4 0
12. Gretna 2 0 0 2 2 8 -6 0