ICT staff and supporters worked hard to make sure the pitch was playable, but it was Motherwell who took full advantage and all three points. A Richie Foran penalty was all that separated the sides. Club Historian Ian Broadfoot reports from the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium...
|Saturday 4th March 2006||Tulloch Caledonian Stadium|
|Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC||0|
Team: Brown, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Hastings (Bayne 80), Proctor (Morgan 24), Black, Duncan (Keogh 70), Hart, Wyness, Dargo
Subs - Golabek, McCaffrey, Fox & Fraser
|Motherwell FC||1 (Foran 51pen)|
Team: Meldrum, Corrigan, Hammell, Kerr, Craigan, McCormack, McDonald (McGarry 83), Foran (Paterson 86), McBride (O'Donnell 80), Clarkson, McLean
Subs - Hamilton, Fagan, Kinniburgh & Alexiou
|Man of the Match||Ross Tokely (ICT)|
A poor game overall, very few accurate shots and just one goal. Sadly for the home support it was scored by Motherwell's Richie Foran from the penalty spot.
Barry Wilson was missing from the Caley Thistle line-up following keyhole surgery on his knee but he was also suspended. David Proctor replaced Wilson but his match ended after 24 minutes when he was taken to hospital with a dislocated shoulder.
Heavy snow over the preceding two days had led to a major clearance operation but it was successful and the match went ahead. The pitch was however heavy and mistakes were plentiful.
There was barely a minute gone when a Ross Tokely cross from the right reached Ian Black via Richie Hart and Craig Dargo and it was nearly 1-0. Black sent a looping header over ‘keeper Colin Meldrum which looked in but was cleared off the line.
A botched pass-back to Meldrum in the fifth minute was intercepted by Dargo on the left and he tried to curl the ball over the ‘keeper and into the net - he came close but it was wide. These two chances were to prove amongst the home side's best of the match.
The frantic first five minutes also included two blocked shots from Motherwell's Brian Kerr and a dangerous cross from Kevin McBride which was headed for a corner by Darren Dods. Play began to verge on the reckless but referee Steve Conroy chose not to flourish the yellow card.
This tough spell culminated in a 24th minute hefty challenge on David Proctor which led to his departure from the field en route to Raigmore Hospital. Alan Morgan came on to play on the left with Hart moving to the right.
Dennis Wyness curled the ball just wide in 27 minutes from 25 yards then seven minutes later Meldrum brought out the save of the match when Hart crossed from the right and Dargo's on-target shot was blocked. The save was also significant because it was the only real test of either ‘keeper all afternoon.
With five minutes of the first half remaining Alan McCormack went down in the Caley Thistle box alongside Grant Munro but play was waved on and the referee ignored any suggestion of a dive.
Half Time: 0-0
Two minutes into the second half Alan Morgan similarly went down in the Motherwell box and was booked. The home crowd became restless as they could see no difference between the incidents.
There was no real protest however in the 50th minute when Tokely tripped McCormack and a penalty was awarded. Tokely was perhaps fortunate to only receive a yellow card but he was deemed not to be the last defender. Richie Foran stepped up to net the spot kick and received a yellow card for an over exuberant celebration. On the hour mark the home crowd was once more left puzzled when Scott McDonald claimed Mark Brown had tripped him in the box but a penalty was refused and again referee Steve Conroy ruled that no card was appropriate.
As the second half wore on the home side searched for an equaliser and even replaced defender Richard Hastings with striker Graham Bayne. This left some exposure at the back and a Motherwell breakaway with nine minutes left was only ended by an excellent Grant Munro interception.
David Clarkson broke away a minute later but Steve McGarry was offside when the final pass came. With a minute left of the statutory 90 Motherwell substitute James Paterson headed over the bar then into added time Wyness came close at the other end. A classic double shuffle on the left of the box took him past two defenders but his angled shot hit the side netting.
There was still time for McCormack to send a long range shot just wide and Motherwell managed to see out the three added minutes safely to earn all three points.
Full Time: 0-1
Despite this set back Caley Thistle remain sixth but Aberdeen and Motherwell are in hot pursuit.
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