Ladbrokes Championship: Inverness Caley 1 Dunfermline 0: 28/10/17
Both Allan Johnston and John Robertson named unchanged sides. It was the Pars first match in Inverness since May 2012 and they were seeking their first win there since March 2007. After a four match unbeaten run in which they had not conceded a goal, Inverness Caley Thistle were seeking their first home league victory of the season.
Conditions were dry but there was a swirling wind as Inverness` 21 year old striker Connor Bell, got the game underway with the visitors attacking the goal at the Kessock Bridge end.
Sean Murdoch had barely seen the ball before having to pull off a fantastic save in four minutes. Jake Mulraney`s cross was defended out as far as Iain Vigurs who released a powerful effort from 25 yards out that was destined for the top right corner before the Pars keeper turned it over the bar.
The Fifers first chance came in nine minutes. Kallum Higginbotham made a strong run through the middle before picking out Ryan Williamson on the right edge of the Caley box. His cross picked out Nicky Clark who struggled with the pace of the delivery and ended up teeing a shot up for Fraser Aird but he blasted the ball into the stand from 15 yards out.
On 13 minutes a through ball from Higginbotham put Callum Smith down the right but he was cut down and a free kick followed on the edge of the Caley Thistle box. Higginbotham placed the ball to Aird on the top of the box but he was shut out and Higginbotham forced a corner. Unfortunately when that tried to pick out Callum Morris on the 18 yard line that failed.
Four minutes later a Liam Polworth corner from the right travelled through the Pars box to John Baird on the left but the former Falkirk man fired his shot over the bar.
The Pars survived but the Highlanders gained confidence and it was certainly no surprise when they eventually penetrated the Pars defence at the midway point in the first half. Mulraney provided a cross in from the right and a deflection off Lee Ashcroft in his attempt to clear appeared to wrong foot both Morris and Murdoch allowing BELL to stick the ball away from close range. 1-0
In 32 minutes Polworth won the race with Nat Wedderburn to a loose ball midway into the Caley half and sent Bell speeding up the left. The Caley Thistle player beat Morris but was clipped by him and earned the Pars skipper a yellow card. Fortunately the free kick from the left edge of the box was defended.
Then four minutes later Smith got in between the two opposition central defenders to be one on one with keeper Mark Ridgers but the youngster pulled his shot wide left.
Five minutes from the break, a Aird cross from the left was headed behind as Higginbotham challenged but Wedderburn was penalised when the ensuing corner came over. Aird next created more danger with a cross from the left that Donaldson headed away.
At half time the home side had a grip of the game, they had enjoyed 55% possession, had five corners to the Pars two, six shots to the Pars two and three on target to the visitors zero. Of course they had the all important stat one goal to nil up.
Half time: Inverness Caley Thistle 1 Dunfermline 0
From the restart Inverness were right at Dunfermline. Mulraney`s run was halted by Talbot and Vigurs free kick in to the near post had to be turned behind for a corner. Murdoch plucked the delivery out to end the threat.
Tremarco appeared to push Clark off the ball right in front of goal but there was to be no 48th minute penalty. Next Aird`s cross was almost tipped into his own goal by Ridgers but only a corner resulted. The home side defended that but there was some reassuring signs that the Fifers were not going to give this game up.
Two bookings were picked up in quick succession as both Williamson and Clark were shown yellow. The crowd roared on Mulraney in 56th minute and he had time to pick out Baird just inside the Pars box in a central position. The 32 year old should have scored but Murdoch did really well to keep the ball out.
Almost immediately Baird was presented with another chance. There were spare players around him but he chose the wrong option and another great opportunity had gone.
In 63 minutes Higginbotham and Williamson combined to effect on the right and the latter`s cut back was touched on by Clark but did not have direction and a corner was forced on the left. Chalmers cleared when Higginbotham sent the ball over.
Smith and Aird were withdrawn in 66 minutes to introduce Declan McManus and Joe Cardle. It was the home side who threatened but the offside flag was up as a dangerous ball was delivered from the right. At the other end Williamson got in for another cross from the byeline but Clark could not get a good connection and the ball went out left.
In 74 minutes Caley created more danger with a cross in from the left but fortunately Polworth sent his effort wide and right. Then a kick out from Murdoch got caught in the wind to set up McManus with a chance at an angle 15 yards out but a defender slid in to block. Cardle next sent a shot on and this time the Caley keeper had to make a save.
With seven minutes of regulation time remaining Higginbotham sent the ball through the Caley box but time was running out. Polworth had the chance to seal the points but sent a shot on to the crossbar before the Pars pushed forward in search of a late equaliser.
It wasn`t to be and the Fifers and their 502 travelling fans had to face the long track home without anything from the game.
INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE: Mark Ridgers: David Raven, Brad McKay, Coll Donaldson, Carl Tremarco: Jake Mulraney (Ricki Calder 72), Liam Polworth, Iain Vigurs (c), Joe Chalmers, John Baird (George Oakley 78), Connor Bell (Gary Warren 90+1)
SUBS NOT USED: Charlie Trafford, Matthew Elsdon, Daniel Mackay, Ryan Esson (GK).
SCORERS: Bell (23)
YELLOW CARD: Baird (57), Tremarco (60)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot: Kallum Higginbotham, Aaron Splaine (Dean Shiels 76), Nat Wedderburn, Fraser Aird (Joe Cardle 66): Callum Smith (Declan McManus 66), Nicky Clark.
SUBS NOT USED: Andy Ryan, Lewis Martin, Jean-Yves M`Voto, Cammy Gill (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Morris (32), Splaine (45), Williamson (51), Clark (53), Higginbotham (65)
REFEREE: Kevin Clancy
WEATHER: Cloudy 15C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (away) v Falkirk, Saturday 4th November 2017 kick off 3.00pm at The Falkirk Stadium
Sammy says thanks very much for visiting our web site where we have lots of news for young Pars fans.