Basking in sunshine akin to the Caribbean, around 100 fans bathed in the heat wave, picnics in abundance and bikini's of all colours shapes and sizes on display. An interested array of managers also looked on, Brew and Patti of course, with Alex Rae, Kevin Drinkell, Neale Cooper and ex ICT leader John Robertson taking in the wares on offer. But I digress, on to the main ingredient, the game itself.
An early chance for Hibs saw Zibi save with his legs from close in. Hart then had a shot blocked at the other end for a fruitless corner. After about seven minutes, Zibi effortlessly plucked an 18 yard shot out of the air, and two or three minutes later, Hibs did 'score' but the effort was ruled offside.
Zibi seems better with his legs than his hands as he blocked another brisk shot from the angle of the six yard box with his shins, decent save this. Twenty minutes gone and Rory did some good hold up play after beating the defender, played the ball inwards to Hart but his low shot skidded just wide of the keepers right hand post. Some slack play all round as the bobbly pitch started to get the better of both sides.
After twenty five minutes, Rory deservedly won a free kick in an encouraging position, but alas, Barry curled his effort into the keeper’s left hand side net, but the wrong side of the post.
Half an hour gone and Watt started a decent move after a strong challenge deep in his own half, he surged forward before feeding Barry who shipped it on to Hart, but the shot was well blocked by the back tracking Hibees defenders. Hibs next to threaten when a free header from eight yards centre of goal was not powerful enough to beat a well positioned Zibi.
Hibs number 8 was impressing in the first half and a good run and lay off from him resulted in one of the forwards curling a shot a yard too high. Next to show for ICT was Hart, but his final piece of action in his thrust through the Hibs defence saw him swipe at fresh air almost, and the ball eventually trundled towards the Hibs keeper. Good showing from Zibi Watt and Hart in the first half with Hibs having the sharper movement, but poor finishing from both sides evident.
Half time picnics taken and still the afternoon sun blazing down, the teams returned to the fray and continued where they left off. Hibs first to attack but Zibi easily plucked the ball out of the air, like picking cherries for the ex Hibee. Another 'goal' for Hibs when Zibi was allegedly unfairly challenged twenty five yards from his goals and the ball was prodded home, but the ref gave a belated free kick to ICT.
Regular reservist Richie Hart tried his luck again with a volley from 25 yards and forced the Hibs keeper to dive low to his right to save. About the hour mark, Deano came on for Martin Jack, who worked away without really threatening.
Corner ensued for ICT who were beginning to get to grips with the slicker Hibees, and ball headed on to Patti, whose header was flicked wide. Centre half Bayne made not his first gaff in the box, but no takers for Hibs as the ball was cleared. A couple of minutes later, Hart shot over after decent three man move and Zibi then had to dive to his right as Hibs swiftly countered and shot goalward from right side of box about ten yards out.
The game came bursting into life as the sunbathers were treated to a storming last twenty minutes with Rory shooting goalward but the keeper saving comfortably. Vigurs then burst forward but his shot was blocked. The action was coming faster than the shorthand from the reporter and a Hart corner and Watt header failed to break the deadlock, Hibs again countering quickly and a good step-over resulted in a shot deflected for a corner.
Seventy five minutes gone and another strikers challenge from Bayne as he unceremoniously upended the impressive Mutumba. From the free kick Hibs effort was saved at the second attempt by Zibi as he blocked the rebound. Seconds after a Hart free kick was cleared, the ball landed at his feet and like a true Brazillian, he curled the ball with the outside of his boot to the unmarked Rory on the keepers right edge of the six yard box, he brought the ball under control, rounded the keeper and slid the ball home from six yards, a well taken goal and an impeccable cross from Hart............or maybe it was a badly sliced shot that landed lucky for Rory, anyhow, good finish from Rory.
Hibs almost replied straight away but shot wide and had another close attempt a minute later. The sun-scorched crowd were just commenting on how disappointed Mixu must have been with his wee brother Markus, when out of the lengthening dark shadows on the left wing, he cut across the face of the box and struck a low right footer curling away from the diving keeper into his right hand side. Another good goal as unexpected as it was.
Kerr fired in a low drive that whistled just wide as Hibs wilted in the afternoon haze. Patti was suddenly enjoying this and he dropped his shoulders to body swerve a couple of defenders but Hart again failed to trouble the scorers. Hibs were now demoralised and no doubt wondered how their slick play brought no rewards and an industrious ICT picked up all three points. Dale Gillespie just back from representing Scotland and playing against Dutch league players from Feyenoord, had a solid game playing in an unfamiliar role at right back. Pick of the ICT bunch were Zibi, Watt and Hart, with Rory and Patti taking their goals well. Deano played but nothing happened for him to make the visiting managers sit up and take notice. Barry was ineffective and Patti well shackled before coming to life. Bayne at centre back.... leave it out, too many mistimed tackles, but he also did a fair bit of clearances, although Watt was the one holding the back line firm. Kerr played at left back and did ok as well and Vigurs played deep left middle in the Roy McBain invisible man role. The sun was just dipping behind the distant snow capped hills as the teams left the pitch, the fans now able to take their hands down from their tanned faces to applaud the victors from the field, a hard fought victory but eventually deserved despite the ball being in the Inverness net three times.
TM4TJ Man of the Match goes to Zibi, but Hart can once again be proud of his effort and Watt must be looking to stay as he put in a decent performance. Mutumba impressed for the visitors and McCann and Stevenson also showed up well.
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