SPL v Inverness Caley Thistle
INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE 1 DUNFERMLINE 1 22/10/11
Attendance: 3241, Kick Off: 3.00pm.
Referee: Steven McLean
Jason Thomson and Alex Keddie returned for the Pars in the SPL basement battle on Highland soil. Ryan Thomson and Andy Dowie dropped out. Terry Butcher made one change from the side that lost to St Johnstone - Greg Tansey replacing Stuart Golabek.
Pre match there was a tribute to the Armed Forces, one could only hope that the RAF Rescue helicopter that circled the ground was on the Fifers side. Conditions were dry but there was a strong westerly wind blowing across the pitch and with the sun struggling to come through the dark clouds overhead, the floodlights were on from the start. Around 200 Pars fans travelled north to support Jim McIntyre`s team who were seeking their third away win of the season.
Paul Burns and Andy Kirk got the match underway with the visitors attacking the goal at the Kessock Bridge end. Thomas Piermayr put Joe Cardle up in the air to earn a yellow card within 90 seconds. Cardle was instrumental in sending Paddy Boyle down the left in fifth minute and the former Partick man provided a good cross for Kirk but not good enough to give the Northern Ireland internationalist an opportunity to shoot.
In eighth minute Potter swung a free kick to the far side of the Pars box and Boyle got up high to head the ball in the direction of the goal but Ryan Esson gathered. Next Burns found Thomson 25 yards out and the on loan Jambo threaded a pass into the path of Kirk but he sent a great chance just outside the left goalpost.
Dunfermline continued to press when Thomson drove a low ball into the Caley Thistle box but the defence cleared that. The Pars won the first corner of the match on the quarter hour and Cardle tried the move that created a goal previously this season, short to Burns back to Cardle and laid off for Thomson to shoot but he blasted the ball high over the bar.
Caley Thistle then had their first real period of attack but without causing any problems for Gallacher. Thomson forced another corner in 21 minutes after latching on to a David Graham pass. Cardle`s corner from the right was headed out by a defender but Burns turned and hit a fantastic shot that caught the wind to hit the inside of the far post. The Fifers fans were ready to celebrate but the ball ran along the line and out on the right for a goal kick.
There was a let off for the Pars when Caley seemed to be queuing up to shoot but Nick Ross hit the ball on to Keddie`s outstretched leg. Back to the other end and another corner from the right was forcefully headed on target by Potter but Esson fisted that away. In 27 minutes Esson was made to pull off a great save to stop a cracking shot from Cardle.
On the half hour a Cardle free kick was pumped into a crowded penalty box. There were several attempts to get a shot in but the defence won the stramash only to lose possession and allow another Pars cross but Keddie was penalised for climbing over a defender as he tried to head home.
Just as it looked as though Dunfermline were really controlling the game a slip up by Austin McCann on the left let Foran break and cross into the box where a diving header from Gregory TADE sent the home side into the lead. Caley were lifted by the goal and threatened again when Shinnie`s shot was blocked by Thomson and then Tansey had a header saved by Gallacher.
Having commanded the game for more than half an hour a period during which the Pars should have scored, the break came with them a goal down and facing dropping to the bottom of the league.
Half Time: Inverness Caley Thisle 1 Dunfermline 0
Bright sunshine greeted the teams when they returned for the second half but after just two minutes Ryan Thomson had to come on for Jason Thomson who appeared to have picked up a foot injury. Paddy Boyle`s 49th minute cross fell nicely for Kirk but he sent his shot just over the crossbar.
Caley`s first threat came from a Tansey free kick from 30 yards out that also went over the bar. The Pars went back up the park and Boyle had a couple of bites at it before Cardle`s flick on was cleared. A Pars free kick conceded by Tokely in a centre area 30 yards out as well, was driven low through the wall but held by Esson as he dropped to his knees.
After eleven minutes of the second half Liam Buchanan replaced Andy Kirk. Another Boyle delivery created mayhem on the edge of the box but Mason couldn`t win the tussle for possession and Inverness got it away. Cardle had two good crosses in from the left but just couldn`t get on the end of the chances. Then as they turned up the pressure Boyle cut back for Buchanan to belt a shot but straight at Esson from six yards.
There was much more hope now for the Fifers and their supporters broke out into song. But that was all too brief. Josh Meekings came on for Piermayr and he immediately put over a dangerous ball. That was cleared but then Tade crashed another shot at goal but was well wide right.
As the match entered its final quarter it became end to end and Ross had a glorious chance that Gallacher beat away. Dunfermline tried hard to save the situation but couldn`t get the breaks. Boyle in 79 minutes picked out Buchanan but his touch to Cardle still failed to make any difference. The Pars continued to attack as they desperately sought a goal that would prevent them sinking to the foot of the table.
Four minutes from time David Proctor brought down Buchanan as he sped in from the right. Referee Steven McLean pointed to the spot and it wasn`t a hard decision. Liam BUCHANAN grabbed the ball and he sent the spot kick low to the keeper`s left to make it 1-1.
The goal was no less than they deserved for all their good play but Gallacher had to save from Meekings to hold on to the point that suited the Pars better than the Caley Jags. In 90th minute it could have got even better when sub Steven McDougall laid the ball back for Mason on the edge of the box but he pulled his shot narrowly wide left.