Appearances & Goals To Date
|Youngest Player:||David Proctor (25 years 260 days)
|Oldest Player:||Adam Rooney (2011 years 107 days)|
|Average Player Age:||28 years 36 days|
|Domestic Players:||11 (100.00 % of starting eleven)|
|Youngest Player:||Lee Cox (19 years 146 days)|
|Oldest Player:||Dani Sanchez (2011 years 107 days)|
|Average Player Age:||25 years 253 days|
|Domestic Players:||16 (100.00 % of matchday squad)|
First Team Debuts
Jags bounce back:
After a disappointing Derby Day showing against rivals Ross County in Dingwall last week, Inverness Caley Thistle were keen to bounce back to winning ways against an Airdrie side that has struggled to adapt to the 1st Division since “winning” promotion after Livingston were expelled to the 3rd.
Kenny Blacks men had been finding life in the league tough and were battling with Morton and Ayr United at the wrong end of the table whilst Inverness were sitting in mid table just keeping in touch with the leaders. The reverse fixture in mid September had seen Inverness scrape a draw after a poor display which could’ve been much worse for the Jaggies had Esson not saved a 2nd half penalty.
Despite the previous weeks defeat against County, ICT had been rampant in the fixtures prior to that game scoring O'Carroll goals against Ayr United and a lacklustre Morton in Inverness. Many expected a similar score to be racked up against Airdrie however it was more close than many ICT fans would’ve liked.
The home side started brightly and created the first real chance of the game when forward Rooney fed the ball wide to Imrie and he scampered down the right, cutting back inside his man and delivering a cross to the back post for Foran to attack. The Irishman’s header however was well saved by Airdrie keeper Robertson. Inverness’s next chance fell to Imrie who was played in by Foran and the former Clyde man, in a similar style to when he crossed for Foran earlier in the game, cut back inside before unleashing a stinging drive that Robertson did well to palm away. Whilst Inverness had started the better of the two teams, Airdrie were at times playing some nice football. Looking calm and composed the Diamonds drove at Inverness down the left flank with a series of intricate passes which saw a fine curling effort test keeper Esson who was equal to the task.
Imrie was again next to threaten for the home team when neat interplay between Spaniard Dani “Juanjo” Sanchez and former Aberdeen man Russell Duncan opened up the Airdrie back line for Imrie to have a strike at goal but his effort was charged down by a lunging Diamonds defender. The hard working Duncan crossed from the right for former Motherwell player Foran to attack who saw his header blocked by a defender and the ball went out for a corner. Inverness were now on top and it looked to simply be a matter of time before they scored. Further chances to break the deadlock fell to Foran, Sanchez and Imrie but a combination of sclaffed efforts, good goal keeping and desperate defending kept the sides on level terms. Airdrie served notice that they still offered a threat when a poor clearance from defence was seized upon by Trouten but Esson watched his effort sail comfortably over the bar.
Right on the stroke of half time the Caley Jags made the break through when a swift counter attack caught the Diamonds defence napping. Grant Munro began the move with a sliding challenge to halt an Airdrie attack and the ball fell to the feet of Dougie Imrie who charged forward and sprayed the ball wide to the left wing where Sanchez lurked with intent. The Spaniard cut inside and angled towards goal skipping past a couple of challenges before dispatching a low shot past the despairing Robertson. There was barely any time left to kick off as the referee signalled for the end of the first half and the crowd dispersed in search of pies and hot drinks to warm themselves up.
Airdrie began the 2nd half the better of the two teams and had chances to draw level. From the right side a delicious crossed ball was whipped into the box that led to a mad scramble which resulted in a number of players trying to get the decisive touch on the ball to either score or clear the danger. Luckily, for the majority of the 2,700 crowd, it was an ICT player who was able to boot the ball to safety. Airdrie increased the pressure on the Caley Jags defence when another exceptional ball from the right was headed goal wards drawing a fine save from Esson. This seemed to spark some life back into Inverness who had started the second period sluggishly. Sanchez beat his marker and lifted a ball into the box for Rooney who attempted an audacious overhead kick but succeeded only in falling on his backside and the Diamonds keeper was able to smother the weak effort. ICTs Latino star was again the creative force behind the next Caley attack when his pass picked out Imrie who thundered a volleyed effort goalwards but the Airdrie defence stood firm and charged down his effort. The games next chance fell the way of the Away side who were unlucky not to snatch an equaliser when a headed effort came off the post and bounced wide to safety.
Clearly by this point ICT manager Butcher had seen enough and decided to change things around to try and grab that elusive second goal that would surely kill the game. Imrie, who had started the game well but had faded the longer it went on, made way for Jonny “The Whippet” Hayes who took up a position in the right side and instantly began terrorising the Airdrie left back with a number of penetrating runs. It was Hayes fellow Irishman Foran who created the opening for strike partner Rooney when he played the flame haired forward in with a delightful through ball that split the Airdrie centre and left Rooney one on one with the keeper. As the Home fans rose in expectation they were left cursing their luck as Rooney blazed his effort skyward and into the back of the North Stand.
With ICT still sitting on a precarious 1 goal lead the game changing moment came when little Dani Sanchez was removed for Eric Odihambo to take to the field and he wasted no time in introducing himself to the fans who had barely seen him play since he was signed some 9 months ago. From 25 yards out, the former Leicester City man seized upon a lose ball and rifled in a superb strike on the half volley which smacked in off the post. As fine a goal as the long suffering Inverness fans had seen at home in a long time and it secured a precious three points for Butchers side. Airdrie had one final effort of note when O'Carroll spun his marker in the box and flashed an effort across the face of the goal but ICT comfortably saw out the rest of the game and deservedly picked up the three points for their efforts
Match report written by hislopsoffsideagain