CaleyJags crawled into the 5th round draw after a 2-0 win over Elgin City...
The score may look respectable but anyone looking deeper than just the scoreline will see that both goals came in injury time of the second half and that a replay seemed inevitable.
In truth, there was only one team that looked like winning, but Inverness laboured over this 90 minutes and will be glad to see the back of a stubborn Elgin City who deserve all the plaudits after restricting Inverness to mostly half chances, although the longer the game went on, the more likely it looked as though the SPL side would score the winner. Chances came and went, and when Shane Sutherland saw a certain goal miraculously cleared off the line, it looked like a replay was on the cards, until super sub Dani Sanchez took control. A stunning volley when he latched onto a ball inside the eighteen yard line and a sublime lay off header for Rooney to tap in means that Butcher has another name to add to the pecking order. But for Peter Donnelly in the City goal, this tie could have been over early doors, as he made a number of crucial saves and blocks to frustrate Inverness until the late flurry of activity brought the City players to their knees.
Special mention to the Elgin fans who turned up in vast numbers and certainly showed the home fans how to get behind their team. Maybe they turned up looking for the Caley Animals, but what they found was an increasingly nervous home support who were given little to enthuse over until the introduction of Sanchez.
At the end of the day, Inverness are into the hat for the next round, and that's what matters on cup days. One or two cup shocks, Aberdeen scoring six was one of them. County drawing at Tannadice and St Mirren and Hibs being held on their own patch, so lets be thankful that we passed the banana skin test first time round.
Davie will be along soon with a full match report............................and here it is.
Elgin City. It’s a name that conjures up trepidation for more sides than ICT, but if they ever had an agenda with anyone, it’s with us. Lineups were along familiar lines for both teams, Tuffey being dusted down and brought out like the family silver. It’s Jonny, it must be the cup and it’s the first time we’ve met them in the big leagues, and since IHE and his mates stopped wrecking trains. It's just a pity Wilson's knee couldn't make the party. Watching the first half from the main stand, it was actually more fun watching the assembled hordes from Moray, piper and all and more depressing listening to the quickly grown frustration from the home fans. The first half opened with Inverness passing brightly and playing around Elgin’s half with no real penetration until 10 minutes in, when Foran brought a routine stop from Donnelly, who gathered the ball into his considerable middle. Odhiambo did likewise and a procession of effort but no real danger resulted. The pitch seemed fiery today, with the ball kicking up from the slightest of off touches, and too often people looked foolish (especially Eric Odhiambo who relies so much on a decent first touch) – seemingly it happens when you switch the heating off, the ground dries out and the surface ices. It also probably explained Foran’s falling down impressions – he and a few others were skiting around all day as the surface iced. Concentrating on Inverness, we coped easily enough with Elgin in the first half and Tuffey could have stayed bench-warming as usual. Tokely and Innes coped at the back and Grantie swept up anything that came his way. The midfield tackled well enough but the killer ball that we have missed since Hayes' demise was lacking again, the service to Rooney was sporadic and chances were thereby limited. Elgin defended stoutly enough, a free kick into the box from O’Donoghue being their only limited chance. Majority of possession then, absolute monopoly on chances and containment of any threat. Butcher’s game plan only lacked the cutting edge to score in that first half and that was the cue for some frustration from the home fans. Elgin’s seemed content on enjoying their day out and providing a colourful backdrop to most of the action.
Half Time: Inverness CT 0 Elgin City 0
The second half opened with a touch more purpose and drive from both sides. Elgin may have felt that they absolutely needed to score first; ICT probably felt that they just needed to score. Cameron at least got motivated enough to foul Shinnie on his way past and earn a slightly harsh yellow. Thereafter, the game became a bit Peter Donnelly vs. ICT. He had saves from Odhiambo and Foran and an excellent stop from Rooney followed by another excellent stop in 60 minutes from the shortly to be hooked Eric. It was beginning to look like it might be one of those days, but Shane Sutherland replaced Eric to bring a bit of bustling urgency to proceedings. His strength on the ball was in marked contrast to said Eric, who is all about pace, but with a lack of the guile that would make him a real handful. In 65 minutes, Frizzel had what was Elgin’s golden chance. Crooks cut in past a couple of challenges, bringing a block from Tuffey. Frizzel fired the rebound into the side netting and that had the ICT faithful’s hearts in their mouths – it really was time to do something about the situation, and Butcher responded by taking off a slightly disgruntled looking Foran and replacing him with Sanchez. Another smart save from Sutherland followed, and it quickly became apparent that ICT had found the creativity that they had lacked for the majority of the game. Just when a couple of pints in the Thunderton were being contemplated, Sanchez latched on to a bouncing ball in the area and buried a lovely volley past Donnelly. Thank you and goodnight. A minute later, he headed a Nick Ross cross into the path of Rooney to put the gloss on it. There was barely time left to take the kick off
Full Time: Inverness CT 2 Elgin City 0
A hard fought win this, and perhaps a little too hard for some tastes who felt that we should have converted dominance into goals sooner than we did. However, this weekend’s results have shown that the “smaller” teams have given a real account of themselves in many cases. It was interesting to hear Gordon Strachan say that he never watched smaller teams before they played Celtic, because the same 11 would fire in an adrenaline fuelled performance that bore no resemblance to the rest of their year. Elgin did that, and so did their fans on their big day out. Well done, but ICT go into the hat for the next round.
Match report written by tm4tj/Davie