Written by Adam Sturrock
ICT leapfrogged Dundee into third place in the Championship after winning 1-0 at home, courtesy of a first half Aaron Doran finish.
Restored to the dugout from the flu, Robbo made two changes from the Clyde game with David Carson and Kevin McHattie starting – it was McHattie’s first league start of the season. ICTFC lined up in a 4-1-4-1, with Trafford covering the back line.
Dundee also make two changes to the starting 11, restoring Jamie Ness and starting Josh Meekings against his old side. Dundee won the first fixture of the game 1-0, but both teams hoped to leave today with the three points.
From the outset, having played a midfielder as cover for the defence, the Caley Jags looked very comfortable, generating most of the possession.
Four minutes in, Aaron Doran created the first shot on target from a freekick, whipping a shot up and over the wall, but not with the sufficient power to beat Conor Hazard in goal.
Another four minutes later, Brad Mckay chested down a high ball to set up Doran, who rode a tackle down the right flank but failed to connect with his cross properly; blazing it high.
Eventually the deadlock would be broken at the 16th minute, through some industrious work from David Carson. Chasing after a loose ball, he scrambled to keep the play going from a 50/50 challenge and after steadying himself, slipped into the box in space on the right.
His pass across goal evaded Hazard and seemed to be trickling out of pay, only for Doran to contort his body and prod in a right footed effort from a tight angle at the back post.
10 minutes later, ICT had a quick break from a Dundee throw-in within Caley’s half. Carson played a long ball up the park from a second ball, which Jordan White contested to flick on to Doran to his left.
With only two defenders to beat for a 1 on 1, Doran tried to lay off a returned pass to White, but an opposition leg stretched to cut it out for a corner. David Carson tried to connect with the following corner, but put his volley well wide.
Dundee still had a fair share of chances to bring the scores level. Firstly Paul McGowan jostled for a high ball in the box, turning to get a shot away on the bounce, but Brad Mckay blocked from close. Immediately as the ball deflected out, Mackie was on the follow up from the left hand side, taking a touch, and side footing it down the throat of Mark Ridgers for an easy low save.
Up the other end again, Jordan White dummied a pass through his legs to work it onto his left peg, but unfortunately dragged his effort wide.
At the 42nd minute, Dundee had another batch of chances to equalise just before half time, testing ICT’s stout defending. Coll Donaldson first had to slide in to block a volley from Hemmings from around 5 yards in the box. Barely seconds later, Tremarco saved McCart’s blushes with a spectacular diving header off of the line – which seemed destined to be an own goal – after McCart flicked a header over Ridgers and towards the net from a cross by Graham Dorrans.
ICT again started the second half well, followed by a few chances for the hosts to level.
At the 50th minute, Charlie Trafford set Tremarco free down the left after turning into space, who ran 30 yards before squaring to Storey in the middle of the park. The Englishman managed to keep his effort low but it was blocked from 20 yards out.
But the chance of the game fell to Aaron Doran, who failed to capitalise at the 61st minute. The Irishman latched onto a slack pass and with only Hazard to beat, tried to round the keeper to grab his brace but was blocked with a stretched right hand.
Perhaps emboldened for their let off, Dundee had a few opportunities in the second half to open their account. Firstly, Kane Hemmings slid a pass through to Todd in the middle of the box, who tried to cut a low shot across into the far corner but failed to find the target; going half a foot away from the post.
Then came substitute Danny Johnson, who had all of the time in the world to pick his spot late into the half. Todd’s cross from the left hand side was deflected towards Johnson, who kept his attempt down and hit it into the ground, but missed the target after perhaps rushing to get a shot away.
With James Keatings coming on for the Caley Jags to add some further attacking impetuous, they started to prod for that elusive second goal.
Two balls across the goal went unclaimed by a Caley shirt with five minutes to go. From a failed clearance, Keatings’ pass had to be cleared by Forster as it dangerously reached the back post with very little resistance. From the opposite side of the pitch, Caley tried to interrogate the Dundee backline but again had no takers.
James Keatings almost added a cap to the game in the last kick of the match from a set-piece. Miles Storey was clattered to the ground from 30 yards and Keatings’ freekick whipped inches away from the top corner, whistling past the post at the last minute.
ICTFC: Ridgers, Mckay (Rooney 71′), Donaldson, McCart, Tremarco (Keatings 82′), Trafford, Carson, McHattie, Storey, Doran, White (Todorov 64′)
Dundee: Hazard, McGhee (Kerr 70′), Forster, Meekings, Mackie, Byrne (Todd 61′), Dorrans, Ness, McDaid, McGowan (Johnson 61′), Hemmings