Inverness CT 3 - 0 Stranraer

Challenge Cup - Alba Cup Rd 2
Tuesday, August 18th, 2009, 7:30 PM at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium
Referee: C Mackay
Inverness CT  Stranraer

Richie Foran (12)
Dani Sanchez (29)
Richie Foran (32)

Team Managers
Terry Butcher Keith Knox

Starting Eleven
Ryan Esson
Ross Tokely
Grant Munro
Nauris Bulvitus
Lee Cox
Robert Eagle
Johnny Hayes
Daniel Stratford
Graeme Shinnie
Richie Foran
Dani Sanchez

Kyle Allison
David Proctor
Roy McBain
Nick Ross
Adam Rooney

Adam Rooney for Richie Foran (62)
Nick Ross for Johnny Hayes (69)
Roy McBain for Dani Sanchez (80)
McLom => McMahon (47)
Aitken => Agostini (52)
Jack => Moore (53)

None. Henderson (84)
Wright (86)
McInnes (87)

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Ryan Esson (GK) 30 apps -
Grant Munro 288 apps8 goals
Ross Tokely 485 apps32 goals
Nauris Bulvitus 4 apps -
Graeme Shinnie 2 apps -
Robert Eagle 4 apps1 goal
Johnny Hayes 4 apps -
Lee Cox 5 apps1 goal
Daniel Stratford 5 apps -
Richie Foran 20 apps5 goals
Dani Sanchez 4 apps2 goals
Roy McBain (sub) 333 apps19 goals
Nick Ross (sub) 4 apps -
Adam Rooney (sub) 41 apps7 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Lee Cox (19 years 58 days)
Oldest Player:Graeme Shinnie (2011 years 19 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 109 days
Domestic Players:11 (100.00 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Lee Cox (19 years 58 days)
Oldest Player:Graeme Shinnie (2011 years 19 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 121 days
Domestic Players:16 (100.00 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts


Caley Jags stroll past Stranraer:

Caley did all the hard work in the first half hour as they coasted to an ALBA Cup victory against Stranraer that was even more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.

A brace from Richie Foran, sandwiching a goal from Dani Sanchez, had already won the game after 32 minutes, but in truth enough chances were created in the second half that this should really have been a rout, and Terry Butcher will still have a few concerns over the lack of cutting edge in the penalty area.

Despite hinting at widespread changes after the failure to beat Ayr on Saturday, TB brought only Ross Tokely (available as his suspension does not affect him in cup competitions) and youngster Graeme Shinnie in, with David Proctor and Lionel Djebi-Zadi given the chance to put their feet up. Stranraer, presumably feeling a bit stiff and tired after a gruelling journey North, were adventurous enough to start with two forwards, only to find ICT taking advantage of the holes in the midfield. After a slow start, with only a tame effort from Robert Eagle to show for the opening 10 minutes, the home side came alive; Lee Cox wandered forward from midfield and had all the time in the world to play in Richie Foran. With half the defence playing for offside and the other half doing goodness knows what, the Irishman could have stopped to light a cigar before drilling a low shot into the bottom right hand corner for the opener.

Suddenly Stranraer were all at sea, and chances came thick and fast. Foran should have had a carbon-copy second, but this time managed to smack the ball the wrong side of the post with only the keeper to beat. To be frank, I could have scored it, so could the lady sitting on my left, and so could the man with the knee replacement on my right. Then Dani Sanchez, anonymous up to this point, came up with a beautiful flicked volley that beat the keeper all ends up but smacked off the post, but the Spaniard quickly made amends for that with the second goal. Jonny Hayes darted in off the right wing, leaving three defenders in his wake, and unselfishly squared the ball for Sanchez to tap in to the empty net. A third was quick to follow, with Eagle the provider and this time Foran knocking the ball in with the keeper stranded. The Irishman might have had a hat trick by half time but glanced a header wide from a free kick. By the half-time whistle, Stranraer faces were as red as their strips, and the home fans scented a second half goal fest.

However, no-one accounted for the magical, invisible forcefield erected around the goal at the Bridge End in the second half, which is surely the only logical reason for Caley's failure to add to their total. There was so many clear-cut opportunities that this observer lost count. Foran wasted two more glorious chances, first losing control in front of goal, then managing to head the ball straight down into the ground so it bounced up and over the bar. Is it still a header if the ball hits your nose?

The Irishman wasn't the only one throwing opportunities away. Both centre-backs should have found the net; Bulvitis contrived to head wide from all of six yards out with no defender to be seen, then Grant Munro stuck a header straight at the keeper from the same distance. Stranraer by this point had no answer when the home side got the ball wide, and Dani Sanchez was denied by the woodwork for the second time, somehow only hitting the post with a header from two yards out (all right, it was an acute angle, I'll give him that). Lee Cox came up with a pearler from distance which dipped and swerved and which the goalie could only parry, while Adam Rooney made the keeper earn his expenses as well, forcing two decent saves though, in truth, the substitute striker should have scored on both occasions. For all the outstanding build up work, the words "couldn't", "score" and "brothel" come to mind when thinking of the second 45 minutes. Stranraer, for their part, managed one chance of their own when veteran forward Michael Moore found enough space to force a decent block from Ryan Esson, but in truth the Caley No. 1 probably won't have sweated enough to require a post-match shower.

So, it was only three in the end, though it must be said that a relatively strong lineup will not have expended too much energy ahead of Saturday's trip to Dens Park. But while the defence came up with a fourth consecutive clean sheet, TB will still be left wondering just how much he can rely on his front men ahead of a big match where chances are likely to be at a premium...

Match report written by tm4tj