Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 1 Inverness CT 2: 25/02/20

Fortune favoured Inverness greater than it did Dunfermline on this cold Tuesday night. The visitors went ahead from a disputed free kick that was deemed to have crossed the goal line after rattling down off the crossbar. Dom Thomas’ second half equaliser was then followed by what turned out to be the winner for the away team as a Tom Walsh shot was deflected past a helpless Owain Fôn Williams.

After a break of 32 days football returned to East End Park with the visit of second placed Inverness Caley Thistle. Stevie Crawford made one change to his starting eleven bringing top goalscorer Kevin Nisbet back at the expense of Gabby McGill.

Inverness in the midst of a run of three away games made three changes from the side narrowly defeat by Dundee United the previous Friday. John Robertson brought in Lewis Toshney, Aaron Doran and Roddy MacGregor meaning on to the bench went Kevin McHattie, Tom Walsh and James Keatings.

The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end but it was Dunfermline who had the early chances. Jon Afolabi created the first chance crashing the ball across the six yard box from the left wing in the third minute. Keeper Mark Ridgers parried the ball forward and Euan Murray was unlucky not to get a touch to finish.

A Ryan Dow corner from the right was met by Nisbet but his attempt went straight into the arms of Ridgers. Nizzy had another chance that he sent over before Afolabi smashed a strong low shot wide right in 14 minutes.

The Highlanders first threat came from a corner sent in from the left by Doran on the quarter hour but over hit the return was off target from an acute angle. Five minutes later a Miles Storey ball in from the right was cleared by Aaron Comrie but then in 23 minutes Comrie got caught challenging between two Caley players and the visitors were awarded a free kick 23 yards out. Carson and DORAN stood over the ball before the latter hit the ball around the four man wall to enter the goal off the crossbar. 0-1

The Pars immediate response was a Dom Thomas shot from the left corner of the ICT box that Rodgers held. Inverness however with the lead enjoyed more possession and a worrying territorial advantage. Doran in particular was looking dangerous but it was Macgregor who was on the end of a Carl Tremarco cross who headed a 37th minute chance wide right.

Five minutes from the break a Dow cross picked out Thomas and when he shot Nisbet got a touch but the effort went over the bar. The home side’s push for a goal before the break was led by Murray, his cross was deflected behind for a 44th minute corner. When that came in Dow’s shot was blocked. Then when Storey fouled Murray on the left 12 yards out the resultant free kick saw Kyle Turner on the end of it but off target.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Inverness Caley Thistle 1

Afolabi got the second half underway and Dunfermline made a positive start with a Murray cross cut out by McKay. Thomas had two bites from a 50th minute free kick before next minute popping up on the end of a Nisbet pass to crash a shot on target that Ridgers tipped away and Dow’s follow up went wildly over the bar.

Ethan Ross was the first sub of the evening coming on for Ryan Dow in 54 minutes. Lee Ashcroft conceded a corner on the right two minutes later but Paton eventually got that away.

A long ball from Turner was aimed right for Afolabi to run on to but his attempt was blasted well over. Next a Nisbet cut back put Turner in but his effort was blocked amidst appeals for hand ball. A swift move from Turner through Thomas set up Murray on the overlap but the best he could win was the corner. Thomas sent that over but no one could get the telling connection.

On 65 minutes Nisbet picked out Afolabi in a central position but his shot from 25 yards out went straight to Ridgers. The same thing happened to next Turner shot.

In 68 minutes Gabby McGill replaced Jon Afolabi and within a minute the sub was teed up by Ross and forced a corner on the right. Thomas crosses from the setpiece and when not properly cleared THOMAS pounced on the opportunity and spectacularly crashed home from 20 yards out. 1-1

Devine was under pressure when he headed narrowly wide of the visitors’ goal and then at the other end sub Tom Walsh hit the right post with a well connected effort from 20 yards out. WALSH was much more fortunate with his next attempt a deflection off Murray finding the right side of the Pars goal in 78 minutes. 1-2

Ross forced a corner on the left but Ridgers held Thomas’ cross. Inverness absorbed all that the Fifers threw at them in the remaining minutes. Martin headed over at a corner and Ridgers held a Paton cut back but there was to be no way through the resolute defence.

At Somerset Park Morton defeated Ayr United 2-1 so Dunfermline drop to seventh in the league while Inverness stay second three points ahead of Dundee.

DUNFERMLINE: Owain Fôn Williams: Aaron Comrie, Lee Ashcroft (Lewis Martin 81), Danny Devine, Euan Murray: Ryan Dow (Ethan Ross 54), Paul Paton (c), Kyle Turner, Dom Thomas: Jonathan Afolabi (Gabby McGill 68): Kevin Nisbet.
SUBS NOT USED: Joe Thomson, Tom Beadling, Lewis McCann, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Thomas (70)
YELLOW CARD: Paton (30), Ashcroft (57)

INVERNESS CT: Mark Ridgers, Shaun Rooney, Brad McKay, Lewis Toshney, Carl Tremarco (c): David Carson, James Vincent, Miles Storey (Tom Walsh 70), Aaron Doran (Charlie Trafford 81), Roddy Macgregor (James Keatings 61), Jordan White.
SUBS NOT USED: Kevin McHattie, Nikolay Todorov, Cameron Harper, Cameron Mackay (GK).
SCORERS: Doran (23), Walsh (78)
YELLOW CARD: Vincent (10), McKay (20), Tremarco (61), Toshney (79)

REFEREE: Gavin Ross
WEATHER: Cloudy 2C

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (home) v Dundee United, Saturday 29th February 2020, kick off 3.00pm at East End Park.