Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1
There are times when things happen in football that no amount of words, pictures and video will explain. You can build the skeleton of a report on the game, but nothing will really indicate what the game really looked like unless you were there and even then that perception will be clouded by your own thoughts, agendas and views. Last night was all of that and more.
Make no mistake, Caley Thistle battered this Kilmarnock team beyond recognition, but it’s to their credit that they didn’t fold completely on a night when many would have. The match stats are a bit misleading, in that they state fifteen or so shots in sixty per cent of possession – we counted at least twenty four clear shots on goal. Our first corner of the evening came after two minutes and it set the tone for a procession of Inverness chances which culminated in a second goal in two games for a resurgent Nick Ross. Played in beautifully by Doran, he had the simplest of chances to place the ball past Leathern. Twenty minutes gone, and Inverness started to tighten the screw with chances falling to both Shinnies and McKay. The only blemish was a yellow card for Warren, having upended James Dayton and given away a free kick in a delicious position which Clingan blasted at the Kessock Bridge. Somehow it stayed at a one goal advantage as the teams trooped off, presumably to be reheated for the second half.
Half Time Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1 Kilmarnock 0
You could only hope that the redundant Ryan Esson had a hot cuppa at half time, as the danger of hypothermia was real given the complete lack of activity, lashing rain and blustering wind. Normal service was resumed almost from kick off as Leathern, who had looked hesitant all night almost spilled a shot from distance. The procession of chances then fell to an Inverness side who were increasingly dumbfounded at being 1-0 up. Andrew Shinnie had two opportunities that went close, Graeme Shinnie curled a great cross (or shot) just past the left post and the most galling of all of the missed chances, McKay was denied a penalty after a challenge in the box by Sissoko. Graeme Shinnie – who could and should have had a hat trick in this game, went through on Leathern but still that crucial second goal failed to materialise.
There was an understandable edginess beginning to show in players, management and fans, but surely Kilmarnock – who had showed nothing in this game – couldn’t come back. They did, in ninety minutes when any hope a reply was hopeful at best. A low cross by Dayton was bundled past Esson by Perez and if he contained himself in his celebrations, his manager didn’t and Kenny Sheils found himself cast into the stand again. His sense of balance to perch on the safety barrier behind the dugout was admirable, if slightly bizarre, but only had to maintain it for three minutes as Kilmarnock committed one of the greatest acts of floodlit robbery seen in these parts. The fact that they might actually have won it if a penalty claim deep in injury time had been successful only added to the utter disbelief at what had unfolded.
Full Time Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1 Kilmarnock 1
This Reporters View
The 2 529 hardy souls who watched this game cut a frustrated picture as an incandescent Terry Butcher escaped to the dressing room to await his charges. You could sense the hurt, but we remain today in our highest ever league position and played some great football but just failed to put the game away when the chance arose. Shinnie, McKay and co. have not become misfiring journeymen overnight, and their touch will return. Someone, somewhere soon will find this out to their cost. We miss Richie Foran, of that there is no doubt and his return will be welcome. There were some dissenting voices in the stand last night, but consider this: nearly all of the team were recruited at next to no cost from the unlikeliest of sources and moulded into a unit that sits second in the SPL. Most of them had, before August, never heard of Inverness and it took a real leap of faith to join the team on this crusade. The reason that most of them are here is purely down to Terry’s management, Malpas’ coaching and Steve Marsala’s unerring eye. Lose that, and we really will have lost a lot more than a one nil lead.
|Photos Courtesy of CaleyJags.com||Report by David Balfour|
|13th Feb 2013||Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness
|Clydesdale Bank Premier League|
|Inverness CT||1 - Ross 21|
|TEAM: Esson, Raven, Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Tudur-Jones, Draper, Shinnie (Devine 85), Ross, Mckay, Doran (Sutherland 88)|
|SUBS: Reguero, Taylor, Polworth, Pepper, Roberts|
|Sent Off: None|
|Kilmarnock||1 - Perez 90|
|TEAM: Letheren, Tesselaar, Hay (Racchi 62), Barbour, O'Hara (McKenzie 78), Sissoko, Clingan (Perez 66), Dayton, Pascali, Gross, Heffernan|
|SUBS: Jaakkola, O'Leary, Ibrahim, Winchester|
|Sent Off: None|