Airdrie United 1 - 1 Inverness CT

League Match
Saturday, September 19th, 2009, 3:00 PM at Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
Attendance: 951
Referee: J McKendrick
Airdrie United Inverness CT

Baird (25) Johnny Hayes (83)

Team Managers
Jimmy Boyle Terry Butcher

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

Kyle Allison
David Proctor
Russell Duncan
Andrew Barrowman
Adam Rooney

Watt => Lagana (72) David Proctor for Robert Eagle (57)
Adam Rooney for Dani Sanchez (67)
Andrew Barrowman for Lee Cox (77)

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Ryan Esson (GK) 36 apps -
Stuart Golabek 233 apps5 goals
Nauris Bulvitus 10 apps1 goal
Grant Munro 294 apps9 goals
Ross Tokely 489 apps32 goals
Lee Cox 11 apps2 goals
Daniel Stratford 11 apps -
Robert Eagle 10 apps2 goals
Johnny Hayes 10 apps2 goals
Dani Sanchez 9 apps5 goals
Richie Foran 26 apps6 goals
David Proctor (sub) 100 apps6 goals
Adam Rooney (sub) 47 apps8 goals
Andrew Barrowman (sub) 37 apps2 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Lee Cox (19 years 90 days)
Oldest Player:Robert Eagle (2011 years 51 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 141 days
Domestic Players:11 (100.00 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Lee Cox (19 years 90 days)
Oldest Player:Andrew Barrowman (2011 years 51 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 153 days
Domestic Players:16 (100.00 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts

David Proctor played his 100th major competitive game for the Club.

Point apiece:

Caley Thistle managed to salvage a point with a late Johnny Hayes equaliser at Airdrie United but if Terry Butcher’s men are expecting a title challenge then this performance did not indicate that one is in the offing.

Inverness were outfought by their opponents and were lucky to bag a point, having to come from behind and save a penalty kick to secure a single point.

Given that Airdrie were only saved from relegation to the second division by Livingston’s insolvency this has to be a disappointing result for the Highlanders.

Caley Jags started the game with the same XI who started the match at Cappielow last Saturday. There was an ‘old school’ look to the defence with three of ICTs longest serving players lining up (Golabek, Tokely and Munro) alongside Latvian newbie Nauris Bulvitis. The midfield consisted entirely of players bought during the summer, with Robert Eagle, Daniel Stratford, Lee Cox and Johnny Hayes making up the central quartet. Richie Foran and top scorer Dani Sanchez were up front and the bench consisted of Adam Rooney, Andy Barrowman, David Proctor, Russell Duncan and Kyle Allison.

The match started in a low key atmosphere, not helped by the relatively sparse attendance in a 10,000 seat stadium. Both sides were surrendering possession easily and there was little flow to the game. The first real chance went to Caley Jags with Irish forward Richie Foran nodding wide from a Johnny Hayes cross. Airdrie took this a cue to threaten themselves and a shot from Paul Keegan fizzed wide of Ryan Esson’s right hand post.

Caley Thistle attempted to assert some level of control on the game and carved out a series of half chances with Johnny Hayes shooting ten yards out but failing to trouble Airdrie keeper Stephen Robertson, a Lee Cox cutback being intercepted before an ICT player could make contact and Grant Munro heading over the bar from a corner. Despite this moderate pressure Airdrie were never truly under the cosh and showed some good attacking play of their own, with Frank Laguna firing an effort wide. The Lanarkshire side were also holding their own in terms of one-on-one battles all over the park – Caley targetman Foran was having a fruitless time against the determined Airdrie defence and in the midfield Lee Cox and Daniel Stratford were not winning any 50-50 balls or taking the opportunity to bring the ball down and make passes.

Airdrie’s determination paid off when they took the lead in the 25th minute of the match. Former Clyde and St Mirren forward John Baird picked the ball up twelve yards out and managed to turn Bulvitis and shoot low past Ryan Esson at his near post. It was a great finish and gave Baird his second goal of the season.

Caley Thistle looked shocked by the loss of the goal and for the remainder of the first half didn’t look like creating any openings. Airdrie continued to have the upper hand without any creating any real chances.

Half Time

The second half began with no changes for either side. Dani Sanchez briefly threatened but his deflected shot after Johnny Hayes run was held by the keeper. In the second half the issue of Inverness’ central midfield became even more pronounced. Daniel Stratford in particular looked very out of sorts with his touch regularly letting him down, his distribution poor and his strength in the tackle very suspect. Lee Cox fared better although looked a long way from the form that he showed earlier in the season. This weakness in the middle of the park meant that for the most part the Jags were forced to hit longer balls forward to Foran who was isolated, although he did manage to win a good number of headers. This pattern caused increasing frustration from the travelling support.

Terry Butcher made his first change in the 56th minute, bringing in David Proctor in place of Robert Eagle in midfield. A few minutes later former captain Stuart Golabek almost handed Airdrie a two goal advantage when his loose headed backpass was intercepted by Keegan. Fortunately for the veteran left-back the Airdrie forward’s effort was misdirected and Golly’s blushes were saved.

Just after this another misjudgement by a Caley Thistle defender handed Airdrie an ever better opportunity to extend their lead. Bulvitis lunged into a tackle on the impressive Alan Trouten just inside the Caley box and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. It was a clear penalty and a foolish challenge from Bulvitis. John Baird, who scored a penalty kick earlier in the season against Ross County, fancied his chances at doubling his and Airdrie’s tally for the afternoon but Ryan Esson continued his excellent record at saving penalty kicks by flinging himself to his right to block Baird’s effort. It was, in truth, a weak penalty but that shouldn’t detract from Esson’s stop.

Caley Thistle seemed to take a boost from this and increased the pace of their play. Adam Rooney was also introduced for the disappointing Dani Sanchez in the 67th minute. The Inverness side forced a series of corners but despite some panicky defending and goalkeeping couldn’t make anything count from them. Johnny Hayes seemed to be growing in confidence and his penetrating runs gave Caley Thistle a lifeline in the 83rd minute. Foran dropped deep and played a ball across to Hayes in the right channel. The young Irish winger motored past left back Storey and slotted the ball home through the legs of the Airdrie keeper.

The momentum now seemed to be with the visitors and a few minutes later Hayes almost pulled off an exact replica of his goal, again tearing through the right hand channel but this time his shot was blocked and cleared by the doughty Diamond defence. Airdrie also pressed forward during the final minutes but there were to be no more clear chances and the match ended level.

Full Time 1-1

As a result a 1-1 draw at Airdrie might not be viewed as a disaster – both Dundee and Queen of the South have been held to draws by the same score at Broomfield this season – but the manner of the performance is what will concern Caley Thistle fans. The lack of presence in midfield lead to very insipid play for much of the half – fans will wonder whether the side could use more experienced heads like Roy McBain or Russell Duncan in the ‘engine room’. Also, the side looked to lack a real threat going forward – Foran is a great targetman and Sanchez is obviously a talented player but neither seem to be a player who will score the goals required for a title challenge. Perhaps the much maligned Andy barrowman, who came off the bench at Broomfield, can supply regular goals if given a chance or it could fall to the returning duo of Eric Odhiambo and Dougie Imrie to provide increased firepower. Whichever it is, what is certain is that Caley Thistle have improvements to make if they are to launch a credible title challenge this term.

Match report written by tm4tj

Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Ross County 6 4 1 1 11 7 4 13
2. Raith Rovers 6 3 3 0 10 4 6 12
3. Queen of the South 6 3 2 1 9 5 4 11
4. Partick Thistle 6 2 3 1 10 4 6 9
5. Inverness CT 6 2 3 1 8 6 2 9
6. Dundee 6 2 3 1 7 7 0 9
7. Dunfermline 6 2 0 4 4 6 -2 6
8. Airdrie United 6 0 4 2 5 8 -3 4
9. Ayr United 6 0 3 3 3 8 -5 3
10. Morton 6 1 0 5 2 14 -12 3