The highest home crowd of the season, Caley Thistle’s first league derby win of 2003/04 and a very valuable three points. It was a match full of incident and endeavour but only one goal. The first six minutes were frantic with a goal at either end a distinct possibility. In only 40 seconds Darran Thomson collected a Barry Wilson pass and raced in on Graeme Smith. The ‘keeper came out quickly and blocked. In four minutes Mark Brown pushed over an angled shot from David Winters then a minute later he saved a long range effort from John Rankin. The ball broke to Graham Bayne off-balance in the box and he volleyed onto the post. A relieved Brown held the rebound. Seconds later play switched ends and Wilson closed in on Smith but his shot was saved by the ‘keeper’s legs. A Roy McBain corner from the right was played back to him by Thomson and he sent a curling ball goalwards. Smith left it to Martin Canning who headed off the line. Things calmed down after that and County played the better football for the rest of the first half. They could not break down the home defence despite trying hard. A Bayne cross in 29 minutes was met by the head of Winters close to goal but he could not connect properly and the chance was lost. Shots by Paul Ritchie and Thomson were blocked by the County defence then Brown saved at the feet of Winters. Early in the second half a Bobby Mann header was cleared off the line then Brown made a magnificent flying save from a Rankin free kick. The only goal came on the hour mark following a cross from the left by substitute Richie Hart. It flew over Ritchie but he stopped it at the line and hooked it cleverly back across goal – Wilson was well placed to head into the roof of the net at the back post. Caley Thistle grew in confidence but shots were rarely on target. Russell Duncan and Hart both hit wide then with ten minutes left a dangerous Duncan cross was headed for a corner. County’s closest effort came with seven minutes left when a Jim Hamilton header was cleared off the line by Stuart McCaffrey. In the last couple of minutes Liam Keogh and Wilson successfully combined to keep the ball around the right corner flag and waste precious time. The whistle went and with Clyde rescuing a draw against St Mirren the gap is now only four points. St Johnstone lie well placed a further three points behind.