Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 1 Inverness Caley Thistle 0: 16/02/19

For the return of Inverness Caley Thistle, Stevie Crawford made three changes from the side defeated last time out against Ross County. Faissal El Bakhtaoui was out injured while Ryan Williamson and Kallum Higginbotham found themselves on the bench. Into the side came Aidan Connolly, Tom Beadling and Ryan Blair who was making his starting debut for Dunfermline Athletic.

Inverness made three changes from the side that drew against Ross County on Monday night in the William Hill Scottish Cup. All three substitutes from the Cup tie started - Shaun Rooney, Charlie Trafford and Darren McCauley. Dropping out were Coll Donaldson, Sean Welsh and the injured Liam Polworth.

Joe Thomson kicked off for the Pars attacking the goal in front of the travelling support. It was the sixth minute before play got anywhere near the opposition goal, Blair pumping a free kick won for Jamie McCart’s challenge on Bruce Anderson, into the Caley box but out for a goal kick.

Shaun Rooney forced a 13th minute corner on the right, the first of the afternoon, and although due to defending Joe Chalmers got three attempts to deliver the killer cross. Ultimately it was Brad McKay who got a low shot on target but it travelled straight to Ryan Scully.

Anderson had a great chance in 19 minutes when slackness in the visitors defence let him in on the left. His shot was denied and forced to cut back Carl Tremarco turned the ball behind for a corner. When Blair’s cross came over Thomson got goodpurchase on his header some 12 yards out but the ball went directly to Mark Ridgers.

Midway through the half the Caley Thistle defence failed to cut out a long ball hit for Anderson to run on to. As McCart was seeing the ball out behind Anderson was dumped behind generating fans unanswered cries for a penalty.

In 25 minutes a Connolly cross flashed across the six yard line but Anderson couldn’t get the necessary touch. Next Blair sent over a free kick into the Inverness box and Ridgers came storming out to punch clear taking out Brad McKay in the process. After a lengthy stoppage the former Pars defender was able to continue.

On the resumption the already booked McCauley caught Connolly late. Free kick given but no further punishment. Danny Devine was the target from the setpiece but sent his header wide. The Inverness management team made an early substitution replaced Darren McCauley by Anthony McDonald.

A great break out of his own half by Thomson then created the best chance so far. His strong run allowed him to pick out Anderson on the edge of the Highlanders box and the on loan Don laid the ball back for Blair to pop a shot narrowly over the crossbar from 20 yards out.

Five minutes from the break Connolly and Thomson combined for the latter to send a tricky ball into the box that won a corner. Unfortunately when Blair curled that in from the right Ridgers was well out to hold.

The home side had less of the first half possession according to the stats but they had had more corners and more shots than Inverness.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Inverness Caley Thistle 0

Joe Thomson showed great urgency driving forward early into the second half. His ball towards James Craigen on the right side looked promising but he couldn’t get the shot in. Instead THOMSON retrieved the ball and from the corner of the box crashed a shot past Ridgers for a 47th minute opener. 1-0

The Fifers kept up the pressure with a 51st minute corner that eventually saw Connolly hit a cross into the box but Anderson just couldn’t get the necessary touch. Four minutes later Trafford was shown yellow in conceding a free kick 24 yards out on the left side but the defence cleared Blair’s ball into the penalty box.

Ryan Scully was alert and quickly out to sweep away a long ball from which Caley Thistle’s Jordan White threatened. Next Jackson Longridge chested down a Walsh cross into his keeper’s hands. Back to the other end and Blair sent over a 59th minute corner but was too strong for Ashworth to be on.

Two minutes later Connolly met Craigen’s cross and rattled the Inverness crossbar with a great shot from 18 yards. Second sub of the game was for Inverness, Nathan Austin replacing Aaron Doran after 64 minutes. Scully held Chalmers’ 67th minute corner and sent away Thomson. His pass inside for Blair looked good but he blasted his shot high and wide.

After last playing on 27 October, Louis Longridge returned to first team football coming on with twenty minutes remaining for Aidan Connolly.

Walsh got in a 76th minute shot from 25 yards out but the ball ended high into the Thistle supporters. Ryan Williamson then came on for Ryan Blair and he took up a position in right midfield. Beadling has a blast but his effort came back off an opponent and a subsequent corner was also defended.

Rooney was next to be shown yellow and L Longridge hit the 24 yards setpiece wide left. Inverness then had a free kick side right same distance out and Chalmers hit a fine shot, dipping in on target that Scully turned over the top. McKay was next to get a chance but being closed down by two Pars players remarkably sent his attempt over.

Scully held a low shot from Rooney in 86 minutes but it was proving to be a nervous end. Caley turned it on with possession in the home box but thankfully to no effect. Play stop as Ashcroft clashed head on White and on the resumption play continued towards Scully until a great run by L Longridge all the way up to the bye line set up Anderson but his shot was blocked and Thomson hit the follow up wide right.

The Pars first home win since 1st December was Stevie Crawford’s first win in charge and Man of the Match went to Joe Thomson. Three welcome points that keep the Fifers in seventh place, five points behind their opponents in the final play off place.

DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: James Craigen, Lee Ashcroft (c), Danny Devine, Jackson Longridge: James Vincent: Tom Beadling, Joe Thomson, Ryan Blair (Ryan Williamson 78): Aidan Connolly (Louis Longridge 70), Bruce Anderson (Mark Durnan 90+2)
SUBS NOT USED: Kallum Higginbotham, Myles Hippolyte, Matthew Todd, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Thomson (47)

INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE: Mark Ridgers: Shaun Rooney, Jamie McCart, Brad McKay, Carl Tremarco (c) (Sean Welsh 88): Joe Chalmers, Aaron Doran Cogan (Nathan Austin 64), Darren McCauley (Anthony McDonald 34), Tom Walsh, Charlie Trafford, Jordan White.
SUBS NOT USED: Coll Donaldson, Kevin McHattie, Roddy Macgregor, Cameron Mackay (GK).
YELLOW CARD: McCauley (26), Trafford (55), Rooney (81)

REFEREE: Steven Kirkland
WEATHER: Bright 11C

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