Late drama at Shadows gig
Inverness forced a dramatic last gasp equaliser which abruptly wiped the grin off a disgruntled Derek Adams' dial, and it had appeared only a minute earlier. This was the finish to end all finishes as Richie Foran drove home the ball with the last kick of the game to bring Adams to the verge of tears.
It was a bright sunny day for the early kick off and the low sun would play a part in the action as the game reached a crescendo. The early action was a bit hectic with Inverness controlling the flow of the game without being too creative and County were chasing shadows for most of the first half.
Billy McKay broke the deadlock with a superb volley after Foran nodded a ball back across goal. Rocco Quinn returned the compliment with an equally impressive strike then some bizarre goals swung the game in favour of the Dingwall side. Richie Foran appeared to glance a McKay shot with his face, wrong footing Mark Brown to put the visitors ahead once more. A huge deflection off David Raven saw an Ian Vigurs shot loop high over a stranded Reguero and the crazy sequence continued as a Richard Brittain free kick found it's way into the net after everyone missed it in the box, including Reguero. Game over you would have thought, Derek Adams certainly did, but after a thunderous forty yard strike by Owain Tudur-Jones was pushed away, the resulting corner saw Foran snatch a deserved leveller as he turned a Meekings header into the net to send the Caley Jags fans into hysterics.
It was a frenetic opening half hour with neither side creating much although Inverness had the upper hand. That would change after half an hour whem Billy McKay scored a superb opener. Doran's free kick was headed back across goal by captain marvel Richie Foran and McKay swivelled some fifteen yards out to volley a beauty behind Mark Brown high into the net off his right hand post.
It looked at this point that Inverness would sweep County aside but they almost equalised near half time when a Brittain free kick rattled Reguero's post with the keeper ensuring the ball stayed out. The loose ball found Vigurs slamming a shot goalward but it was brilliantly blocked on the line and Inverness broke swiftly to the other end. McKay had rounded Brown but his shot from a tight angle was also blocked on the line. Foran headed the corner just wide as the half ended with a flourish. It would be a taster of what was to come in the second period.
Half Time 0-1
Less than five minutes into the second half and County drew level with a stunning goal of their own. Kovasevic was afforded too much space on the right and as he rolled the ball across the edge of the box, Quinn matched McKay's effort to curl the ball across Reguero into the roof of the net from twenty yards.
County then looked the more likely to go on and win the game as the Inverness midfield disappeared and the Staggies new found belief saw them pressure the visiting defence, but they held firm with some frantic defending.
A rare foray forward saw Andy Shinnie turn sharply in the box but Brown saved well low to his left as Inverness started to come to grips with the game again and when McKay tried a shot from distance, part of Richie Foran diverted the ball beyond a stranded Brown, from a suspiciously offside position, although Ross Tokely pulling Richie back could have seen a penalty given.
Inverness were back on top now and looked likely to stretch their lead but it was the home side who threw a spanner in the works when Vigurs strolled forward some thirty yards out. He tried a long distance shot which Raven tried to block but all he succeeded in doing was to loop the ball high over the outstretched Reguero and into the net.
If you thought that one was hard to take, the next one was even tougher. Vigurs was handed a free kick after a soft Raven challenge and Brittain drove a low curling ball into the six yard box. It's one of those ones where everybody is frightened to touch the ball and as nobody appeared to, it ended up in the back of the net. That cheered up Mr Adams, but his grin was swiftly removed a minute or so later.
Inverness surged forward one last time and a vicious Jones thunderbolt from nigh on forty yards saw Brown struggle to keep the swerving ball out, and from the corner that followed, Meekings header landed near Foran and he scooped the ball goalwards. Nobody is sure who scored it, Roberts might be brave enough to try and claim it, and the elation drained rapidly from Derek's face as the game was over.
Full Time 3-3
Not the most technically brilliant game, but it was accepted cup tie fare and two sensational goals a bit of controversy, a one man pitch invasion, flares and a greetin faced git just made my day. You couldn't write this........oh well someone has to and the dramatic end to the game just rounded off a hectic cup tie with it all to do again in the replay at Inverness.
A draw was a fair reflection on the game and if the replay is half as enthralling then it will be worth watching.
tm4tj MotM is going to Richie Foran who cropped up in the right places at the right time and boy, did he enjoy those goals.
1st Dec 2012, Scottish Cup, Global Energy Stadium, Dingwall
Ross County: 3 - Quinn (49), Vigurs (85), Brittain (90+3)
TEAM: Brown, Kovacevic, Tokely, Boyd, Fitzpatrick, Brittain, Kettlewell (Fotheringham 81), Vigurs, Quinn, Morrow (Ross 78), Glen
SUBS: Fraser, Munro, Cooper
Sent Off: none
Inverness C.T.: 3 - McKay (30), Foran (74, 90+5)
TEAM: Reguero, Raven, Warren, Meekings, G.Shinnie, A.Shinnie, Draper, Tudur-Jones, Doran, McKay, Foran
SUBS: Esson, Sutherland, Pepper, Roberts, Cooper
Booked: Draper (80), A.Shinnie (90)
Sent Off: none
Referee: Craig Thomson