ICTFC started their first Championship game of the season at home with a tight draw against Ayr United.
An early Nikolay Todorov shot looked to have gone across the line from the crossbar to put ICTFC ahead, but the score line would eventually be opened in the second half.
Ayr United’s Innes Cameron took a minute to drive home an effort into the bottom corner to put the visitors in the lead, but Todorov scored his second of the season to ensure both sides got a point.
Ayr United started well down the left hand side by winning a corner, but Chalmers’ cross was cleared at the first attempt. The first real chance to open the score came inches away at the opposite end. A great cross from Harper was met by Todorov in the box and his header looked to have dropped on the goal-line from the crossbar. It seemed to be inches from being a goal and from a viewer’s perspective, unlucky.
The Honest Men were doing well down the left hand side through sheer numbers, this time having a pop from their fullback. Patrick Reading ran onto a cutback to shoot from range on the left hand side but hit it well over the bar.
Cammy Smith then saw a long range effort palmed away by Mark Ridgers in his box. The rebound fell to Anderson to pounce but eventually Brad Mckay scrambled to clear.
Anderson was again alert to a flicked headed pass by Baird, to dink the ball over Duffy into the box and to shape to shoot. With barely six yards left, Ridgers rushed forward to slide and knick the ball off him for a corner, Ayr player claims for penalties were ruled out by the referee.
On the break from a broken down Ayr attack later on, Daniel Mackay bought time in his half to allow Todorov to make his run and found him, cutting a through ball onto his right foot up the park. With defender Roscoe slightly unbalancing him shoulder to shoulder, he stayed on his feet but could only shoot marginally past the post with a low drive.
Daniel Mackay was next to go on the next attack moments later, picking up a loose ball in space near the inside perimeter of the box, turning and shooting but his curled effort didn’t bend back in enough to nestle in the net.
Robbo’s faith in homegrown players again almost paid dividends shortly after.
Always looking for opportunities to create, Keatings split the defence open with a cross field first time ball to Harper sprinting in space down the left hand side. As he neared goal, he took a touch and tried to beat the keeper with a drilled effort. The young left back gave the shot too much power however, blazing high 15 yards from goal. A missed opportunity.
At the opposite end, Bruce Anderson’s low cross from the right almost met a teammate, but Brad McKay was on hand to sweep it out for a corner. From that set piece, Michael Miller seemed to have hooked the ball which was behind him on target on the volley, only to see it being cleared by Cameron Harper in an equally acrobatic fashion.
The last chance before the half ended somehow didn’t ripple the net. Nikolay Todorov flicked a pass in the direction of Keatings to his left and the attacker’s weak footed shot seemed to squirm just the wrong side of the near post.
With the game still goalless early into the second half, Ayr United’s Mark Kerr took off former Caley Jag, Joe Chalmers and sent on Innes Cameron, and he immediately made a impact.
The player loaned from Kilmarnock was set up by fellow loan player, Cameron Smith and he drilled a low shot into the far corner, out of reach of Mark Ridgers.
Ten minutes later, Innes Cameron lined up another shot from the opposite side, cutting onto his right foot to curl it, but his shot went down the throat of Ridgers for a comfortable save.
Later on in the game, the Caley Jags got more of the ball and tried to force an equaliser.
Todorov worked well to flick a pass to Daniel Mackay in the box, whose shot was blocked twice by quickly swarming white shirts as it seemed to go on target.
Then Todorov picked up the scraps on the right hand side, digging out a dangerous back post cross that had to be cleared by Roscoe-Byrne as players started to pounce.
Nikolay Todorov would ripple the sides of the net with a tight shot, having cushioned down a long ball to the right hand side. Even if it somehow snuck in for a goal, the linesman quickly blew for offiside.
The Bulgarian wouldn’t warn Ayr United twice though as he eventually found his goal. A few minutes later after the offside call, Ryan Fyffe’s low cross from the right flank evaded a crowded box and landed to Nikolay Todorov to turn and fire home into the bottom corner from around the penalty spot.
Just before the whistle was blown, Ayr United managed to have one more chance to break the draw.
A long ball up the park to Anderson in space was cut out by Wallace Duffy, but the defender clipped the attacker to give the visitors a freekick in a dangerous position. Cameron Smith lined it up from 20 yards and bent a shot under the crossbar that forced Mark Ridgers into a spectacular diving save to tip the shot over.
ICTFC: Ridgers, Duffy, Devine, Mckay (Fyffe 75′), Deas, Harper, Allardice, MacGregor, D. Mackay, Keatings (Kennedy 71′), Todorov
Subs: C.Mackay, Hyde, Harkness
Ayr United: Sinisalo, Muirhead, Reading, Baird, Roscoe; Miller, Murdoch, Chalmers (Cameron 57′); Moffat (Houston 79′), Smith, Anderson.
Subs: Hare-Reid, Hewitt, Kerr, Smith, McKenzie.