Dunfermline 1-1 Inverness CT
Clydesdale Bank Premier League
A crowd of 2881 braved arctic temperatures and a journey down the A9 that had resembled an ice rink demolition derby. It was a relief to get started then, even on a pitch that seemed almost denuded of grass before a ball was kicked. The new version central defence was Gillet and Proctor, Tokely staying on the bench. With both sides missing strikers, goals were going to be at a premium and so it proved.
The match started at a fair pace, and Inverness immediately settled into their game passing well, defending well, creating good pressure but, crucially, not being able to convert some of the many chances that came their way.
Gnapka, Ross, Hayes and Sutherland all passed up opportunities to at least test the much maligned Chris Smith. In truth, much of the play was beginning to be affected increasingly by the state of the pitch. The near stand side resembled something that a ploughing competition had been held on long before half time. It was as well that a stramash that developed on 10 minutes didn’t progress further, or the sliding players may well have accidentally dug a trench through the mud.
Anyway, there was a football match in progress and on 43 minutes Referee Madden curiously awarded a free kick for a Gillet challenge on Cardle, despite contact being minimal at best. This gave Martin Hardie the chance to cannon the Par’s first shot at goal of the half off the crossbar and when the rebound wasn’t cleared properly Cardle buried it. There was barely time to restart and the sense of injustice palpable amongst the travelling support, but if there was to be a robbery it was only half complete.
Half Time: Dunfermline 1-0 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
The second half started with yet more Inverness pressure, Sutherland bursting into the area after a fine move down the near side. Again, all that was lacking was the finish, and Dunfermline sensed that this might be the day for their first home game of the season as they began to press more.
If the first half was chance after chance for Caley Jags, it was reversed as Kirk, Graham and Mason had chances. Terry Butcher made changes, Gnapka making way for McKay and Sutherland for Owain Tudur Jones. Although still obviously recovering his pace after injury, the big Welshman changed the game for Inverness. Holding the ball in midfield and spraying passes into dangerous areas, our threat was rewarded in 72 minutes when great work on the far side by Hayes ended in a neat cross that was netted by Ross, in a fine finish to a lovely move.
The relief was as palpable as the despair in the home support, but still Dunfermline could have snatched the win through Buchanan in the last minute but they still await their first home win, it was yet another draw between the sides and it maintains Dunfermline’s unenviable place at the bottom of the league. This may yet prove to be an important point when the fat lady clears her throat, but this year, in this league, nothing can be taken for granted.
Full Time: Dunfermline 1-1 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Man of the match: I was tempted to go for Tudur Jones, such was the impact that he made in the half hour he played, but that would do a disservice to Nick Ross, who tried manfully and hauled us (literally) out of the mire with his goal. Bring on the Rangers.
Report By: Davie Balfour
|Post Match Interview
|18th Feb 2012||East End Park, Dunfermline
|Clydesdale Bank Premier League|
||1 - Cardle (45)|
|TEAM: Smith, McMillan, Rutkiewicz, Keddie, Boyle, Cardle (Burns 72), Hardie (Buchanan 74), Mason (Thomson 80), Hutton, Graham, Kirk|
|SUBS: Goodfellow, Dowie, McCann, Willis|
|Sent Off: None|
||1 - Ross (73)|
|TEAM: Esson, Meekings, Proctor, Gillet, G.Shinnie, Ross, Tansey, Hayes, Gnakpa (McKay 62), Foran, Sutherland (Tudur-Jones 68)|
|SUBS: Tuffey, Piermayr, Tokely, Morrison, Winnal|
|Sent Off: None|