Appearances & Goals To Date
|Youngest Player:||Ross Tokely (28 years 254 days)
|Oldest Player:||Grant Munro (2009 years 102 days)|
|Average Player Age:||29 years 218 days|
|Domestic Players:||10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)|
|Youngest Player:||Iain Vigurs (19 years 191 days)|
|Oldest Player:||Dean McDonald (2009 years 102 days)|
|Average Player Age:||28 years 226 days|
|Domestic Players:||17 (94.44 % of matchday squad)|
First Team Debuts
You ever had one of those days where nothing went right? For Craig Brewster, this match will rank up there as being one of the worst.....
Graham Bayne and Ross Tokely were both red carded, the fans were furious at what they saw as bad refereeing and the game was lost 0-3 as the team simply did not perform. Add the horrible early winter wind, rain, and sleet to this and it made today's game feel even worse.
Motherwell's goals came from David Clarkson - one in each half - and Darren Smith who got a goal 3 minutes from time.
Craig Brewster made one change to the side that lost last week against Rangers. Don Cowie returned to the side and David Proctor dropped out altogether. John Rankin, whose continued absence from the squad prompted much discussion on the forums was listed as a substitute. Mark McGhee named the same side that started the previous week for Motherwell which meant an attacking 4-3-3 formation.
Referee Chris Boyle was in charge of only his 4th SPL match in two years and had issued 12 yellows and two reds in the previous 3 SPL games. That would rise to 14 and 4 by the end of this game. The whistler has also been card happy in his other games this season with his stats for all 7 games he has officiated this season being 30 yellows and 6 reds !!!
Anyhow, on to the game itself ….
The first fifteen minutes were pretty turgid and there were no real chances. Motherwell probably had the better of play but the closest they came to goal was earning a corner in 10 minutes which went out for a goal kick. Another corner came in the 15th minute and Motherwell went ahead. Ross McCormack took an inswinging corner. It was headed on by Stephen Craigan and David Clarkson was on hand to turn it into the net.
A couple of minutes later and Motherwell might have been two ahead – Chris Porter headed the ball into the net from a Ross McCormack cross but it was judged as offside. A minute after that Ross McCormack had another effort but his drive went over the bar.
Graham Bayne had been getting pulled up all afternoon by the ref and after giving away more fouls in 23, 24 and 26 minutes, the ref finally booked him for persistent fouling.
Although Motherwell were in the ascendancy, it was not all one-way traffic and Caley Thistle had three good chances near the end of the half. Tokely and Wyness combined to setup Russell Duncan and he decided to have a go from 20 yards. Unfortunately it went way over the bar.
A couple of minutes later a Cowie free-kick was headed into the six yard box and Grant Munro got on the end of it. Despite some cheers from the crowd as the net bulged, it soon became apparent that it was bulging the wrong way and the shot had hit the side netting. 4 minutes from half-time and it was Russell Duncan again who had another chance, this time he shot from 18 yards but put it left of target.
Half-Time ICT 0-1 Motherwell
Craig Brewster made a substitution at half-time and this too has been the subject of a lot of debate. Many felt that Niculae for Bayne may have been sensible given the referee’s apparent dislike for Graham’s style of play but it was Barry Wilson who came on and Ian Black that was subbed. Rumours of a half-time dressing room bust-up and sightings of Blackie leaving the stadium before the second half even kicked off have been rampant ever since ….
The folly of not subbing Graham Bayne at half-time would come back to haunt the Caley Jags gaffer after just 5 minutes. He was adjudged to have fouled David Clarkson on the half way line and the referee deemed it a bookable offence. As he had already been booked the red was produced and Caley Thistle were down to 10 men.
Barely two minutes later and the game was effectively over. Ross McCormack made a run down the left wing and crossed to the back post for Clarkson. It was blocked near the line by Motherwell player Chris Porter but Clarkson blasted the rebound high into the net to make it 2-0. The fact that this goal was allowed to stand, with Porter not once but twice being in an offside position in many fans and players eyes ended it for Caley Thistle. From this point on every decision the ref made was questioned, the players became frustrated and it was inevitable that more yellows or reds were to follow.
Roy McBain was the next one into the book as he lambasted the so-called “assistant referee” after a challenge from James Paterson and then he went back for more and was lucky not to walk for it.
A red card however was coming in the near future and in the 62nd minute, it was issued to fan favourite Ross Tokely who was judged to have elbowed/punched Steve McGarry as the pair tussled off the ball. There is a suggestion that McGarry made the most of it, and that his own manager may have made a diving gesture to the player when he was subbed a little later, but the bottom line is that Tokely raised his hands (or elbow) to the player and you just don’t do that … to do it with 11 men on the park is bad enough, but to do it when you are 2-0 down and already down to 10 men is inexcusable. It is also somewhat reminiscent of a similar incident at Ayr a few years ago where the big man lost it, got sent off and was forced to spend the rest of the match in the team bus as ICT were hammered 5-1.
The scoreline didn’t get that bad in this match, but it might have had the Motherwell attackers got more on target. In 66 minutes David Clarkson shot over the bar and Porter did similar in 70 minutes.
Fifteen minutes before the end, Marius Niculae replaced Wyness but he could do nothing to get ICT back into it. It was definitely a rearguard action as the team went to a 4-3-1 formation with Cowie covering at right back and this meant that Motherwell could basically attack at will. The third nearly came in 77 minutes as Lasley powered through the ICT defence but his cross to Porter was intercepted by Hastings who did well to stop the attack.
The last throw of the dice was to bring on John Rankin for Roy McBain in 79 minutes but it was too little too late by this time. 11 minutes isn’t very long to have an impact with 11 players on the park but with 9 its asking for a miracle.
Although Don Cowie had just been announced as the sponsors’ man of the match, Motherwell sealed the win with a third goal just 3 minutes from time when “real” man of the match David Clarkson crossed for substitute Darren Smith who slotted home an easy chance. Many ICT fans didn’t see this goal as they had left in droves long before the final whistle in what was undoubtedly one of ICT worst performances in the SPL.
Speaking after the match Craig Brewster had sympathy for Graham Bayne but lambasted Tokely saying “I certainly thought the first sending off is harsh as it seemed that everytime Graham Bayne went up for a ball in the first half he was punished and we told Graham at half-time to be careful. However the second red card is a disgrace, Tokely has let himself down and his team mates down, with ten men you are up against it but with nine men it is damage limitation and I will deal with him internally on Monday.”
Club Captain Grant Munro said something very similar “Ross's was a definite red card; what he did was very stupid and he let himself down firstly and also the team. I thought Graham's red card was harsh - it seems for some reason that he gets booked in every game he plays. He's a centre forward so he's got to be strong and I don't think he did much wrong from my own and the team's points of view. It's not about the referee, though, it's about how we perform and we were disappointing, simple as that. The game was very difficult when Graham was sent off and it was an uphill task when Ross stupidly got sent off so it was about digging in and keeping it respectable, but I thought we did that and played a lot better with nine men than we probably did with 11”
[source: Scotsman newspaper]
Match report written by CaleyD