James McPake (43)
Paul Cairney (53)
Ben Williams (82)
Conor Pepper (59)
Appearances & Goals To Date
|Youngest Player:||Aaron Doran (21 years 138 days)
|Oldest Player:||Conor Pepper (2014 years 55 days)|
|Average Player Age:||26 years 258 days|
|Domestic Players:||7 (63.64 % of starting eleven)|
|Youngest Player:||Aaron Doran (21 years 138 days)|
|Oldest Player:||Jason Oswell (2014 years 55 days)|
|Average Player Age:||26 years 89 days|
|Domestic Players:||13 (72.22 % of matchday squad)|
First Team Debuts
Capital Comeback Kings strike again:
Inverness staged another dramatic comeback in the capital to spoil Hibernians' plan to top the table. Hibs had come flying out of the blocks and raced into a two goal lead with just over half an hour gone.
Eoin Doyle got the break of the ball to stroke Hibs ahead after 23 minutes and Wotherspoon lashed a ferocious volley past a stunned Ryan Esson with 31 minutes on the clock to put a rampant Easter Road side on easy street.
A dash of Pepper saw young Conor throw Inverness a lifeline before the break and Richie Foran sealed the comeback with an equaliser with ten minutes remaining.
A bright day in the Capital for this clash saw Inverness boss Terry Butcher hand Conor Pepper a start with Welshman Owain Tudur-Jones sitting this one out after his red card against the Dons. Josh Meekings continued in defence with David Raven as Simon King missed out with an operation pending on his ankle.
For the homesters, Leigh Griffiths failed to recover in time and youngster Ross Caldwell filled his place.
Hibs started the game in brisk fashion tearing forward at every opportunity, and there were plenty of them as the fragile Inverness defence continually gifted them the ball at will. Josh Meeking inexplicably lifted his leg like a dog taking a piddle as a Wotherspoon cross rolled across a stunned Esson's goal and missed the post by inches. Almost a calamitous moment for Josh, but he would play a more important role later in the game.
The Hibs wingers were flooding forward making incisive breaks and constantly getting behind the inverness back four, and from one of these attacks Caldwell should have made Esson work but he thumped the ball into the side net from the angle of the six yard box.
Hanlon shot over as the game opened out and Doran forced Williams into a full length diving save as he turned and shot smartly after a Foran lay off along the edge of the box.
But the Hibs goal was coming and as Pepper gave the ball away cheaply near the Hibees box, Doyle was released on the left side at the halfway line. He showed good pace to leave Warren trailing in his wake and as he entered the box he shot low across Esson who spilled the ball and unfortunately as Warren slid in the ball ricocheted of Doyle and into the net despite the best efforts of Blackman to keep the ball out on the line.
Probably no more than Hibs deserved at that moment and their tails were up. Paul Cairney crashed a twenty yarder off of Esson's left hand post with the keeper beaten and Hibs made a hash of capitalising on the rebound with Caldwell miscueing his attempt.
Inverness were stung into action and Warren headed wide but it was Hibs who increased their lead with as good a strike as you will see all season. Once more Inverness were the architect of their own downfall conceding the ball cheaply in the middle of the park. When the ball arrived at Wotherspoon some 27 yards out, it sat up nicely and he thrashed home an unstoppable volley into the rigging high behind a motionless Ryan Esson. That one even brought about a begrudged ripple of polite applause from some Inverness fans, great goal.
Half an hour gone and we looked down and out at this point but we are Inverness and we don't do walking away.........
We needed a goal and we needed it soon. With six minutes left of the half we got ourselves back into the mix. Ross Draper lofted a ball forward and captain marvel Richie Foran timed his jump to perfection to nod the ball towards Alan Maybury. Unfortunately for him, Conor Pepper was lurking with intent and the younster outmuscled his more experienced opponent and dashed towards the box. He still had plenty to do but he hit a low twenty yarder across Williams and in off the far post from the inside right position. Superb strike to match Wotherspoon's wonder goal and the lift Inverness needed.
We almost went in level at the break when after a spell of sustained pressure, a Doran chip was headed goalwards by Shinnie, but Williams made a tremendous one handed save, clawing the ball away from the target.
Half Time 2-1
Hibs flew out of the blocks once more and Caldwell shot over from 12 yards after Andre Blackman had been dispossessed out on the flank. Caldwell will feel he should have done better.
Our injury list grew even longer as Blackman limped out of the action to be replaced by Gavin Morrison just before the hour.
Ryan Esson became a hero as Hibs tried to assert themselves once more. McPake found space in the box and he swivelled and volleyed a fierce shot from seven yards, but Esson produced a wonder save to deny the Hibs captain, as his colleagues held their heads in disbelief.
That save proved crucial to the outcome of this match. We were now enjoying much more of the play and Hibs were reduced to playing on the break, but they were still dangerous when they pushed forward. Hanlon, Doyle and Claros all tested Esson but he was equal to them and Inverness stunned the Edinburgh side with a brilliant equaliser with ten minutes left.
Foran tried his luck from Wotherspoon range but his effort was straight down Williams' throat. The Inverness pressure was beginning to get to the Hibs defence and we enjoyed the better of the second half. Could another capital comeback be on the cards?
The answer would soon be revealed. Josh Meekings suddenly turned into Johan Cruyff. He left two defenders facing the wrong way after picking up Billy McKay's lay off inside the Hibs box. His cross come shot was fired goalwards by Warren who had pushed forward. Williams once more clawed the ball out brilliantly only for Richie Foran to react quickest and rifle the loose ball into the roof of the net from three yards.
This was no more than Inverness deserved and the introduction of young Phillip Roberts was another reason to be cheerful as he looks like an exciting prospect, drifting past players with ease and good in the air to boot.
Hibs tried to salvage the game and a flurry of corners ensued but the by now confident Inverness defence held firm and saw out the remaining minutes relatively unperturbed.
Full Time 2-2
tm4tj Man of the Match:- A few contenders for this accolade. Connor Pepper showed power beyond his years and scored a great goal. Gary Warren is proving to be one of our best signings along with Ross Draper, but my choice was captain marvel Richie Foran, who led by example today and scored his third goal in as many games.
tm4tj Moan of the Match:- The form of Aaron Doran and Andrew Shinnie is a tad worrying. Two of our most talented players have been bit part bystanders recently and with our limited resources we need these guys to give us a little more on matchdays.
Match report written by tm4tj