ICTFC 2 – 1 Raith Rovers
By Adam Sturrock
Good things come to those who wait. And it took until the 88th minute of normal time for the Caley Jags to score the winner, courtesy of a poked Daniel Mackay rebound. The three points won today puts us in a great position to make it out of the group, with an away game against second-placed Hearts of Midlothian next on the schedule, this Sunday.
Like the weather, Caley started brightly against the visiting Raith Rovers, knocking the ball around with ease. During some great build-up play around the box at the 9th minute, captain Carl Tremarco fired a cross from the left-hand side that eventually made it to Tom Walsh. With his left foot, Walsh swept it towards goal but Raith Rovers’ goalkeeper managed to make a great save to stop it. Austin almost capitalised on the loose ball but it was quickly cleared away.
Five minutes later, George Oakley came closer with a shot from within the box that smacked against keeper Robbie Thomson’s legs and out for a corner.
Raith Rovers were happy to sit deep and take their chances, making attacking opportunities hard to come by for the home side. The Jags had most of the ball during the first 45 minutes, but they had to wait until just after the start of the second half to go ahead.
And what a way of doing it!
At the 49th minute, a combination of Walsh to Oakley to Austin culminated in a sweetly struck shot that was caressed left-footed into the far corner from 20 yards out. Oakley received a pass from Walsh and he teed it up for his fellow striker and there was no mistaking the destination. The dam had seemed to have been broken and the frustrations seemingly put to rest.
Watch the goals on Twitter:
But not for long. At the 69th minute, Caley players were scratching their heads after a short corner from Lewis Milne met the head of Grant Gillespie. The ball nestled in the net and the sides were tied once again. We were quick to test the goal after the restart and it would have been a goal if not for another save from Thomson. Nathan Austin twisted and turned just inside the right-hand side of the box and worked his way into an opening, whizzing a shot, only to be saved at the near post.
With nothing separating the sides, a switch was in order. George Oakley left the pitch for 17-year-old Daniel Mackay at the 68thminute. And eventually it was he that broke the deadlock.
Close to the dying minutes, fellow substitute Riccardo Calder tested Thomson on the edge of the box and, again, Thomson saved. But with every case of persistence, this time a Caley player was on the end of the rebound. Mackay was in the right position to tap away the ball into the open net, all but securing the three points needed.
The final result of this game means that the Jags have picked up nine points from three games and are three points ahead of Hearts, who they play on Sunday.