Caley Thistle were crushed by the Dandy Dons in this CIS League Cup quarter-final.
3-0 down at half time, the CaleyJags went on to lose 4-1 thanks in big part to the defence once again conceding penalties... not one this time, but two in 20 minutes, both of which Barry Nicholson slotted home for two thirds of his hat trick. Lee Miller scored the other goal for the Dons and it was Graham Bayne who got a consolation for ICT.
|31/10/07||Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen|
|Aberdeen||4 Nicholson (10pen, 21pen, 78) Miller 45|
Team: Langfield, Hart, Diamond, Mair, Byrne, Smith (Foster 59), Nicholson, McNamara, Aluko (Considine 72), Young (Clark 30), Miller
Subs: Kelly, Maguire
|INVERNESS CT||1 Bayne (68)|
Team: Fraser, Tokely, Munro, McCaffrey, Hastings, Wilson (Niculae 79), Duncan, McBain (Rankin 79), Cowie, Bayne, Wyness (Morgan 79).
Subs: Malkowski, Proctor.
The Internutters Supporters Bus was full again and spirits remained high following our visit to FirPark and our 4-0 routing of Gretna at the weekend. It appeared that many fans were making the effort to travel to this game for fear of missing out on the opportunity to witness victory against Aberdeen at our 15th time of trying.
Traffic on the A96 hadn’t been too bad, but on hitting Aberdeen it seemed that everyone had decided to get out in front of us and the delayed arrival put pay to the pre-match refreshments. I think it’s only right that I point out that I was the only one on the bus who had made the effort to get into the Halloween spirit, although I was slightly more pleased that others at the game had decided to dress up!!!
After dropping everyone off I managed to blag my way into a free parking spot in the car park and headed round to join the crew for the match. A quick visit to the tea stalls for a pie and a coffee and we were ready to cheer the team on to victory.
Caley Thistle started well enough and although we weren’t pressuring Aberdeen early on we didn’t look to be under any great threat either….but that all went quickly pear-shaped when after only 9 minutes when a clumsy tackle by Hastings on Young inside the area resulted in a Penalty for Aberdeen. Nicholson stepped up and slotted the ball away to leave us chasing the game from the start.
Aberdeen looked likely to stretch the lead only a minute later when a Nicholson free-kick found the head of Young only 6 yards out…fortunately for ICT he sent it over the bar.
The scenario was repeated in reverse at the other end shortly afterwards when Don Cowie sent a ball in to the head of Tokely, this time the ball went wide, but at least we could chalk up our first attempt on goal.
Caley Thistle looked like they had picked themselves up and dusted themselves down following the early penalty and they were playing some smart intelligent football. They were managing to keep hold of the ball when they had it and they were breaking down the Aberdeen attack from a decent distance up the park. That’s why it was even more frustrating when on the 20 minute mark another stupid tackle in the area by McCaffery gifted Aberdeen the second penalty which Nicholson once again put away with ease.
Caley Thistle weren’t bereft of opportunities…far from it and Duncan was next to threaten the Aberdeen goal on the half hour. His 30 yard volley is becoming a bit of a trademark and he was unfortunate to see this one miss narrowly to the left.
Young was substituted just afterwards and Chris Clark took his place.
The opportunities continued to present themselves for ICT. A shot by Down Cowie went straight to the hands of Langfield and a drive by Duncan was tipped round the post for a corner, but the much needed goals continued to elude us.
Aberdeen’s 3rd goal was to arrive just before the break, and if the first two had been a gift, then this one came with full wrapping paper and a bow. A totally unnecessary back pass was lofted in to Fraser from about 40 yards out. Despite facing an onrushing Miller, Fraser decided not to let the ball run out and instead try to be a little to cocky and take on the player. In an attempt to jink past the forward Fraser slipped and gifted him the easiest of finishes to make it 3-0 to the home side going in at half-time.
Half Time: 3-0
Caley Thistle hadn’t played badly in the first 45 minutes and had it not been for 3 costly errors then I fail to see where Aberdeen would have got any goals or have posed any real threat. In saying that though, when you’re coming out for the second half chasing a 3 goal deficit then you don’t need to be the best football brain in the world to recognise that you need to make changes to the formation to increase your attacking threat and go for broke.
Despite these thoughts, we returned to the field having made no changes. We did however start the brighter of the two teams and are positive play almost paid off 10 minutes in when a Tokely cross was met by a firm header from Wyness. Yet again Langfield seemed to be in the right place as the ball went straight to his chest for an easy save.
Wyness was denied by Langfield yet again on two minutes later when his left foot drive was easily saved and it was the same story for Wilson when his effort was parried by the on-form Langfield and a second effort went narrowly over the bar before Wyness followed suit putting another ball high and in to the stand.
Finally we managed to get a ball in the back of the net thanks to the efforts of Bayne. Wyness had caught the Aberdeen defence napping and seized on a ball which he slid through to Bayne for him to knock in to the bottom right corner. 25 minutes to go and 2 goals down, if we could continue the form we had been showing, get a little more clinical in front of goal and cut out the errors then we may just be able to pull this one back.
We continued to push forward without much of an end product for the next 10 minutes and with about 15 minutes on the clock Brewster looked to be preparing for a triple substitution. At last, it looked like we were going to put on an extra forward and go hell for leather to try and scrap our way back into it.
It wasn’t to be and any thoughts of a fight back were put firmly to bed on the stroke of 77 minutes. A ball by Chris Clark in to space in front of goal was left by McCaffery and Fraser gifting Nicholson the easiest of opportunities to score his hat-trick and he didn’t need asking twice as he stuck it away to make it 4-1.
Caley Thistle then made the ritual 80th minute substitutions, although I don’t know what Brewster now expected of them. McBain was replaced by Rankin, Wilson was replaced by Morgan and despite the need for an extra forward Wyness became a straight swap for Niculae.
Despite the game being all over bar the shouting you can’t fault the players for keeping it going right to the end. Rankin was the first of the subs to have a go, but his 30 yard shot went narrowly wide. Niculae was up next but he failed to get full contact on the ball and it went straight to the hands of Langfield (where have I used that line before!!). Niculae was to have another go only 2 minutes later only to miss right and again saw himself denied when on the stroke of full-time his downward header failed to beat Langfield.
Full Time: Aberdeen 4 v 1 ICT
Had it not been for the silly errors which resulted in all 4 goals for Aberdeen this game could have been a whole different story. In fact, if you showed anyone the video for this game and simply removed the goal footage you would forgive them for predicting the result as being the other way round.
It was the nature of the goals that left me feeling let down at the end of this game. We’ve played games this season where we were unlucky not to have got a result despite some great play, but we have nobody but ourselves to blame for tonight’s result…yes we were robbed…but we were robbed by our own stupid mistakes.