Steelmen show their mettle:
Inverness were caned today by a rampant Motherwell side who put four past Ryan Esson as Inverness shot themselves in the foot after getting back within touching distance of The Steelmen. Two early goals from Hateley and Higdon set the pace for Motherwell but a Richie Foran header threw Inverness a lifeline before the break. Unfortunately Raven handed the initiative back to Well with a short pass back and Higdon scored his second and went on to complete his hat-trick before the end. It was not to be our day as Darren Randolph made a few miraculous saves and thwarted Andy Shinnie with a penalty save late in the day to compound Inverness' misery.
ictchris was on hand to witness the show, but he has taken a few positives from the game, despite the scoreline.
I quite enjoyed that match in a bizarre way. We lined up with Foran up front for McKay and Meekings slotting into the back four in place of King, who dropped out in the warm up and that saw David Raven maintain his place at right back.
Straight from kick off we won the ball and pushed forward with some decent play and for the next five minutes most of the play was ours. Ross Draper hit a low shot which was deflected off Page and turned just wide by the diving Randolph, and it looked like it might be an enjoyable game. Well started to push back into the game and forced a succession of corners which we looked a bit shaky at, Hateley has a great delivery from dead balls and Higdon is always a handful. Following two or three corners, Hateley whipped one in and Ryan couldn't keep it out at his near post. He'll be absolutely gutted about it, there really isn't an excuse for not getting that ball. Almost straight from the kick off Well were two up as Humphrey, who was lively all day, tore down the left and evaded two lunging, desperate tackles from Graeme Shinnie and Draper, centred for Higdon who took advantage of the space in the area to knock it home.
It was absolutely gutting at this point, we looked on the end of a real hammering. However, we started to push back into it and had the ball in the net when Richie nodded the ball to the back-post for Sutherland to knock in, although this was then ruled out for an infringement on Foran's part. Being at the other end of the ground I didn't really have a great view but there didn't look to be that much in it. Foran then chased back, won the ball out wide and tore in on goal but his effort was blocked. We had pushed right back into the game and deserved the goal that came just afterwards. A corner was knocked clear to Owain Tudur-Jones, who lobbed it to the back post where Foran headed in. We probably looked more likely to score at this point and Foran was played in by a long pass from Meekings for a great opportunity. His shot was blocked and he couldn't direct his header from the rebound goalward.
Half -Time 2-1
In the second half the game was more end to end with both sides having chances. There were a couple of massive Well shouts for a penalty, one when Meekings (I think) made a tackle in the area (looked decent from our end) and again when a shot hit what the fans and players claimed was a hand. We also had a shout for a penalty when Richie was brought down while bearing in on goal but Mr O'Reilly had no time for it.
Things were nicely poised when David Raven, who had actually been pretty solid today compared to other poor displays, made an absolute howler. We'd had the ball in midfield and Raven received it and tried to roll the ball back to Esson but his short pass was eaten up by Higdon, who knoced it home. It was an absolute sickener, we had fought so hard to get back and to lose a goal like that is hard to take. We continued pushing forward, Shane came close with a header from a Foran cross that his marker did well to put behind for a corner. Subsittute Ojamaa helped finish us off though, tearing away on a breakaway, beating his man and squaring for Higdon to crack one home for his hat-trick.
We could've cut the deficit almost straight away when Foran was clearly brought down in the box by Page and the ref gave a penalty. Andy Shinnie's spot kick was well saved by Darren Randolph, who had earlier made a stunning diving stop from a Gary Warren acrobatic overhead kick. I left with a couple of minutes to go as our train was at 17:11, not sure much of note happened in injury time.
Full Time 4-1
Overall I feel strangely positive after a 4-1 defeat, which isn't like me. We really did well going forward, although, as Alternative Maryhill noted we took the wrong option around the opposition goal a few times. Richie Foran was absolutely brilliant today, on another day he could have scored a hat-trick, he worked hard, won everything in the air, played good passes and crosses, fought and harried. An absolutely towering display and we need to keep him up there if we are going to get anything out of this season. The obvious downside is our defending. We looked nervous defending corners and Chris Humphrey was a livewire and had the better of Graeme Shinnie a lot of the game. We just seem to make basic errors too often - a short passback, not dealing properly with a run from wide, letting a corner sneak in. I fear we'll end up repeating the mistakes of last season, chopping and changing at the back. Raven I feel sorry for, he hasn't done that well but was playing OK today until their third goal. Graeme Shinnie was caught a few times by Humphrey and looked uncomfortable against him the whole game. Shinnie is the sort of the full back who dominates his opponent by pushing onto them rather than by dealing with them and that style isn't suited to a guy like Humphrey who is pacey and got time today. In midfield, I think Ross Draper is a great player and had another influential game. Owain Tudur-Jones, cross for the goal aside, was ineffective He looks like he can play but he never actually raises his game and takes control for 90 minutes. The fact he was subbed in a straight swap (for Gavin Morrison who was better) says it all. I thougth Shane and Doran did OK, took a few too many wrong options but were available and looked fluid, espeically Doran who popped up all over. Andy Shinnie had some good touches but had a quieter game than previously.
Match report written by ICT Chris