Francisco Sandaza (pen.41)
Appearances & Goals To Date
|Youngest Player:||Roman Golobart (20 years 12 days)
|Oldest Player:||Graeme Shinnie (2013 years 242 days)|
|Average Player Age:||24 years 180 days|
|Domestic Players:||10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)|
|Youngest Player:||Roman Golobart (20 years 12 days)|
|Oldest Player:||Owain Tudur Jones (2013 years 242 days)|
|Average Player Age:||24 years 349 days|
|Domestic Players:||17 (94.44 % of matchday squad)|
First Team Debuts
St Johnstone too slick for bumbling Inverness:
Inverness turned in another woeful home display as a slicker St Johnstone went back down the A9 with all three points. Fransisco Sandaza smartly converted a penalty before half time after Tade and McKay had missed golden opportunities to put the home side ahead. Unfortunately our performance only got worse in the second half as we struggled to put more than two passes together and Saints could have finished the game off in the second half on the break but chances went abegging. Gnakpa smacked the bar late on but it was a familiar tale of too little too late.
The scene was set for an entertaining evening, both sides having excellent wins at the weekend and even the weather was on it's best behaviour. St Johnstone's miserly away defence are one of the reasons for their lofty position and it was going to take more than Inverness' schoolboy attempts to make them break sweat. What was about to unfold was as predictable as Neil Lennon complaining about referees .............. ajsict92 will tell us how he saw it, but there's not a lot of happy bunnies out there tonight.
Same old Story...
This was real huff and puff stuff tonight. Having already observed the first half performance I had a funny feeling that at half time Sandaza's penalty was probably going to be the only goal of the game. Against Kilmarnock two and a bit weeks ago there was a lot more enthusiasm about the team and chances were being created at a premium coupled with the usual lack of conversion rate rising during the game but tonight there was a real lack of passion in this ICT side and as a result they lacked any real desire to push on and grab a result.
ICT definitely started the brighter of the two sides. Billy McKay was all over the shop, chasing after lost causes and tracking down any chances he got to get the ball to his feet and it was his hard work that helped carve out ICT's first chance of the game, the ball broke to him and he raced into the penalty area, attempting to go round Mannus who managed to divert it into the path of Gregory Tade who had an open goal at his mercy but somehow managed to scuff it wide. I remember a Raith fan commented on CTO when we signed him in the summer saying he would miss as many as he scored but that one tonight was by far the worst. We continued to press though and again missed a great opportunity when Bill McKay cut inside and shot low and hard, it seemed to go under Mannus but the ball was slowed down enough for him to get back and clutch it in his grasp. That really was as good as it got.
While ICT seemed to have more of the ball, St Johnstone seemed to be more composed when they had it and also seemed to have better control of the play and with former Premier League players like Lee Croft and Jody Morris at the teams disposal it was no suprise to see them spraying the ball about the park, creating some nice little passing triangles but the lack of production in the final third suggested that St Johnstone perhaps were not hitting top form either tonight. However like our last outing it seems to be common courtesy for us to gift the visiting side a goal, 2 weeks ago it was an OG and this time it was a penalty and to be honest at the time I didn't have many qualms about it. Tade had a stinker of a game tonight and the fact he conceded the penalty just summed it up, and for me he did seem to push Liam Craig over and Sandaza dispatched the penalty very sweetly, firing it into the corner, shading the post as it went in. The first half simply saw itself out to a minor chorus of boos as the players and officials left the pitch.
Half time - ICT 0 - 1 St Johnstone
Whatever the half time team talk was it did little to unhinge the players from the mediocrity they were producing in the first half and the game just seemed to turn into a frustrating sequence of misplaced passes, high balls to Billy McKay and St Johnstone hitting us on the break on a few occasions. It really didnt get much better than that. Our lack of quality on the width became very telling in the second half. Shinnie and Piermayr were pushing forward alot but really struggled to find Tade and Sutherland (two players who are actually strikers to trade) as they were continually drifting inwards and watching passes to them head towards nothing more than empty spaces. St Johnstone always proved a threat on the break as well and there were one or two occasions where ICT were almost caught short with Sandaza firing just wide and Ross Tokely making a couple of excellent last ditch tackles to prevent more opportunites developing for the away side.
As the game wore on the players did seem to get more of a grip of the ball. Nick Ross was brought on for a less than effective Tade and Richie Foran was shifted up front along side Billy McKay and the two of them conjured up a decent chance when Foran brought the ball down for McKay who struck first time on his left foot only to find it drift just wide of the post. ICT continued to press and Billy McKay was again the one involved in the action he was found just outside the area, turned his man smartly and attempted to find Foran at the back post but his ball across goal was cleared. Foran himself came close when his header flew just over the bar for a good position six yards out.
In the latter stages of the game Sandaza broke clear of the defence again and went down close to the penalty area rather softly under close watch from Golobart and Willie Collum saw it this way and awarded ICT a free kick. As the game drew towards the 90th minute Ross Tokely was placed in the makeshift centre forward role and Claude Gnakpa was then summoned from the bench to replace Sutherland, and with injury time beckoning managed to swing in a beautiful cross which forced Mannus to punch clear with the aerial threat of Foran looming. Gnakpa himself then produced arguably the best moment of the game when he caught a lovely strike on the half volley only to find it rattle the crossbar junction and all but end our chances of taking anything from this game.
Full Time:- ICT 0-1 St Johnstone
To Summarise :- I mentioned in the preview that I thought it was essential to build on the win against Aberdeen and try to finish this season as strong as possible and this is why. Most of our wins this season have all been followed up by defeat (excluding 3 straight wins in January). I don't know if it's complacency setting in or if tonight it was down to not recovering quick enough from Aberdeen but there is no real excuse for it, this was a very poor, dejected performance against a St Johnstone side who have had a terrific season but really were not firing on all cylinders for this game. I can only hope that Terry Butcher can pick the team up from this game with another home game looming so soon after.
ajsict92's MotM - Billy McKay
Was at the centre of everything tonight. Ran himself into the ground, chased down the ball if he had even the slightest chance of winning it, carved out chances for teammates and was unlucky not to score himself. In a game that cried out for more effort his high work rate really showed. Certainly the only player who could have been described as a threat throughout the game.
Match report written by tm4tj/AJS