SPL v Inverness Caley Thistle


Attendance: 2881, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Bobby Madden

An extremely chilly East End Park for the fifth meeting this season between Dunfermline and Inverness Caley Thistle. Dunfermline made three changes for the match against Inverness Caley Thistle.¬ In came Joe Cardle, Martin Hardie and Kyle Hutton, out went Paul Burns, Liam Buchanan and the injured Mark Kerr. Austin McCann returned on the bench.

For Inverness Caley their manager, Terry Butcher was forced into one change; Steve Williams was suspended so David Proctor replaced him in the centre of the defence. The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie end.

There was optimism in the third minute when Graham was sent away up the right but his cross became a shot and Ryan Esson held easily at his far post. Inverness created danger with a Foran shot from the edge of the box and then¬ a break from Foran to Nick Ross looked like putting the player in on goal but he chose to try and find Claude Gnapka to his right and Paddy Boyle nicked the chance away.

Greg Tansey drove well wide in nine minutes as Inverness got to grips better than the Fifers. Cardle and Hardie were both chopped before a free kick was eventually awarded but the Pars failed to make use of that. Tansey then took out Graham and another free kick came the Pars way. From it Hardie headed the ball into the penalty box but Andy Kirk was offside.

In fifteen minutes Chris Smith held a shot from the edge of the box from Ross. ¬ Hardie and Cardle combined well on midway to send Kirk away but the Highlanders defence mopped that up before he could get into stride.

At the other end¬ Gnapka¬ tried to curl in a shot but he was well wide right. Then in 20 minutes Hayes got the better of Boyle on the right byeline and the Irishman got in a cross that Smith could only fist as far as Tansey in front of goal but fortunately the Inverness man screwed up his shot just 15 yards out.

At the midway stage of the first half Graham sent Boyle scurrying away down the left channel.¬ He cut inside for Cardle, Joe played the ball on to his right foot¬ as he cut inside for a shot from the edge of the box but there was a sea of defenders and the shot was blocked by Kenny Gillet.

Caley Thistle piled on¬ sustained pressure at the other end but they were not able to get themselves into a scoring situation. In 28 minutes Shinnie picked out Ross with a really good pass and he laid it off for Shane Sutherland who fortunately blasted his shot wide left.¬ Two minutes later Johnny Hayes sent over a great ball to the far post that MacMillan headed over the bar.

From the corner Gnapka`s header went into Smith`s hands but not before the ball had pinged about the Pars six yard box. Any time Dunfermline went forward the visiting defence was coming out on top although occasionally they got the benefit of the referee`s reluctance to penalise Caley.

Inverness failed to get to play advantage in 38 minutes when Hayes was waiting for the ball on the right edge of the box. The free kick in a central position 28 yards out was driven into the Dunfermline wall.¬ Next minute Hayes did get a chance to shoot but he was wide right with his effort.

Gary Mason skied a shot over the bar after Hardie had carved out a chance. Then in 44 minutes Cardle`s burst forward was blocked by Gillet and a free kick was awarded 23 yards out.¬ Hardie drove the set piece on to the crossbar,¬ Gillet and Sutherland jumped to head the rebound but¬ failed to head clear and Joe CARDLE stepped in to drill the ball home. 1-0

This was not the Pars best 45 minutes of the season. Possession was conceded to Inverness far too often.¬ When Dunfermline did go forward there was a lack of penetration and rarely looked like scoring.¬ Then Cardle struck with the last kick of the half and everything looked so much better at the break.

Half Time: Dunfermline¬ 1 Inverness Caley Thistle 0

The second half could have started just as well for the Pars. In 49 minutes Graham sent a great ball in from the right, the ball evaded Kirk as he ran in but Cardle collected and sent the ball back in. The ball flashed through the Caley box and out beyond the right post with Boyle coming closest to getting the killer touch.

Inverness came back at the Pars with MacMillan covering across to stop Sutherland shooting but it was in front of the home support that¬ the next goal almost arrived. Hardie slipped a great ball¬ into the box but just behind the attack that had raced in¬ to take the chance.¬ ¬

Dunfermline were looking much better when Hardie picked out Graham on the right but his 58th minute cross was headed away. Next minute Kirk dispossessed Proctor midway inside the Inverness half but when through on Esson had his shot turned behind for a corner on the right. The Pars pumped another shot over the bar but this all gave the team confidence and they were stroking the ball around much better.

In 67 minutes Mason produced a low shot that was wide and Kirk was stretching to connect but he was probably offside anyway. Welshman Owain Tudor-Jones then replaced Sutherland as Terry Butcher tried to alter things.

The Pars were defending deep and paid dearly for that in 72 minutes.¬ Sub Billy McKay created the danger holding the ball up on the edge of the box before he fed it left for Hayes to crash across the six yard box where Foran and ROSS were waiting and it was the latter who turned the ball into the net. 1-1

Ryan Thomson replaced Gary Mason with ten minutes remaining and there was a great break when Kirk got past Proctor in the centre of the field but he was unlucky that his ball to Buchanan to his right was mopped up by Esson as he raced out.

A Pars free kick in 84th minute was sent in by Hutton but referee Madden penalised the Pars for climbing in the box. Smith then held a Ross cross as both sides looked for a winner. Buchanan forced a corner on the right, Burns sent the ball to the far post where Buchanan headed over the crossbar when it might have been easier to head home.

Inverness caused more problems with an 89th minute corner of their own and then continued to attack with Hayes getting in on the right but Keddie headed the on target shot behind.¬ From the first¬ a second corner¬ followed and Smith held that.

Burns had a great chance in stoppage time but took an extra touch as he broke free on the right side of the box, and it was gone, There was to be no home win for the Pars as it finished one a piece to make it three draws out of three in the SPL against Caley this season.¬ One point put Dunfermline level on points with Hibs who had to wait until Sunday to face Celtic.

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Jordan McMillan, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Alex Keddie, Paddy Boyle; David Graham, Gary Mason (c) (Ryan Thomson, 80), Kyle Hutton, Joe Cardle (Paul Burns 72), Martin Hardie (Liam Buchanan 74), Andy Kirk
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Goodfellow (GK), Andy Dowie,¬ Austin McCann, Paul Willis,
SCORER: Cardle (45)

INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE: Ryan Esson; Claude Gnakpa (Billy McKay 63), David Proctor, Kenny Gillet, Graeme Shinnie, Josh Meekings, Greg Tansey, Nick Ross, Jonathan Hayes, Richie Foran, Shane Sutherland (Owain Tudor-Jones 69)
SUBS NOT USED: Sam Winnall, Ross Tokely, Gavin Morrison, Jonathan Tuffey, Thomas Piermayr,
SCORER: Ross (72)

REFEREE: Bobby Madden
WEATHER: 6¬ļC Sunny intervals, cold
Par 50/50 winning number: 63070 (worth £632 to the winner)

NEXT MATCH (away) SPL v Celtic
Wednesday 22nd February 2012, kick off 7.45pm

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