League Cup Action at Alloa
Inverness visit Recreation Park Alloa on Tuesday night, or to be more correct, the Indodrill Stadium in the knock out stages of the Betfred League Cup for a 19:30 kick off.
We booked our place in this first knock out round after topping our group despite losing a penalty shoot-out in our second game against relegated Dundee United. A narrow win over Cowdenbeath in our opening game was followed by the United draw and an unexpected 5-1 win at Dunfermline before we routed Arbroath 7-0 in our final group game. The late flurry of goals gave us great expectations for our opening League game last weekend against Partick Thistle, but it proved to be a false dawn for Richie Foran as we slumped badly to a 2-0 defeat at Firhill. Nothing new there then!
Alloa have been the surprise qualifiers from group D where the current League Cup holders Ross County were expected to progress. However, the Wasps had other ideas and won all of their fixtures including a tremendous 3-2 win over County and a wonderful away result at Raith Rovers, winning 1-0. They then carried this form into their League One opener against Peterhead and last seasons relegated team from the Championship trounced the Blue Toon 4-0, a result that will not have gone unnoticed by Richie Foran.
We have played Alloa in the League Cup before, and that ended with a resounding 6-1 win for Inverness in season 2005/2006, our last meeting with the Wasps. Overall we have a relatively good set of positive results over the Clackmannan side with thirteen wins against four, and nine drawn games.
Alloa warmed up for this game by thumping Peterhead 4-0. Jordan Kirkpatrick scored two spectacular goals with Kevin Cawley and Isaac Layne getting one apiece. They have also fired home ten goals in their four League Cup games so far. Jack Ross has recruited well and they have added a bit of toughness in defence with experienced thug Jim Goodwin signing on and he has Culum Waters from Celtic alongside him. Midfielder Jordan Kirkpatrick looks to be an excellent signing with an eye for goal.
We expected more from our squad at Partick, but it was the same old as we went down rather tamely by 2-0. Many fans wondering why last seasons top player Ross Draper was benched. We were also guilty of not providing much for striker Scott Boden to feed off and Alan Archibald had obviously done his homework as the much heralded Jake Mulraney was marked out of the game and rendered ineffective. It's early days in Richie Foran's managerial career and he acknowledges that this performance was not good enough. What will he do to change it though? We were comfortable in the group stages against lower league opposition, but as soon as we stepped up a level, our frailties were exposed. Aaron Doran is still to get back on the park although he appeared on the bench against Partick, but Josh Meekings has not featured at all.
This will be no walk in the park and Alloa's confidence will be sky high, whereas we got a sharp reality check at Firhill. We will need to be at our best to get the job done and should have the know how to do it, but our lack of attacking threat was evident despite the raft of goals in the group stages. This could go into overtime, and that's maybe where our fitness should help us get the job done, but the wasps are buzzing just now. Close encounter with Inverness edging it.