Not a Happy New Year
Just when you think things can't get much worse, we fail to win at Dingwall for the first time in six games and extend our winless run to ten games, the worst in our history.
It's not looking good for Richie Foran as another defeat anchors us at the bottom of the pile and makes us favourites for the drop at this stage of the season. Liam Boyce scored a double and Martin Woods added a third with Carl Tremarco and sub Alex Fisher scoring for Inverness in an all too familiar tale of too little too late.
Inverness benched Liam Polworth and started with Aaron Doran, the only change from the defeats against Motherwell and Rangers. County, as expected had Kenny van der Weg back after suspension and gave Ryan Dow a start ahead of Paul Quinn and Craig Curran.
A healthy away support gave Inverness all the backing they needed from the start, but it's a pity the team failed to return the favour.
It took County only two minutes to breech the suspect visitors fragile defence. Liam Boyce, who scored a hat-trick in the first meeting knocked home from close range, the ball adjudged to have crossed the line by Bobby Madden. Not the start the away fans were hoping for and we were left chasing the game inside 120 seconds.
County were buoyed by this explosive start and Alex Schalk hit the side netting soon after. Inverness could only muster a shot from Larnell Cole that cleared the Jail End on it's way out of the stadium.
To their credit, Inverness gradually worked their way into the game and began to control most of the play without any real cutting edge, the final ball eluding them as has been the case all season.
Schalk went close with a header as County broke the monopoly, but it was Inverness that deservedly pulled themselves level when Carl Tremarco headed home his sixth goal of the season after Warren had made a nuisance of himself in the County box just before the half hour.
No more than we deserved at this stage of the game but County re-asserted themselves soon after, Fon Williams being equal to a Martin Woods effort. They took the lead again on thirty-five minutes and it was that man Boyce once more. Fon Williams did well to turn away another strike from Woods, but as Inverness could not clear the ball, Boyce struck the ball well enough and it ended up in the back of the net, Fon Williams looking sheepish again as the ball missed his hands on the way into the net.
Boyce was once more a handful for the visiting defence and could have had another hat-trick inside the first half but he missed the target this time and at the other end Cole went closer than his previous attempt but Fox was alert enough to deny him.
Half Time 2-1
Iain Vigurs was spotted on the park early in the second half when a minor dust-up was intervened by the ref who lectured the players for offending.
King and Fisher were introduced to try and lift Inverness but it was County that stretched their lead when Woods added a third after Schalk fed him through.
Billy King was lurking with intent though and it was from one of his shots that Alex Fisher benefited from to score our second goal. A slick forward move saw King turn and strike from twenty yards, Fox blocked but Fisher reacted first to dink the ball behind the keeper.
With ten minutes remaining, Inverness piled forward but an equaliser eluded them, Aaron Doran coming closest with a low drive that Fox pushed away.
Full Time 3-2
I'm sure the County fans would have enjoyed their Hogmanay celebrations better than the Inverness contingent. Never would they have been expecting to be gifted goals so easily. Owain Fon Williams was suspect again, deceived once more. The annoying thing was that the second goal came after two superb saves, then the innocuous shot/cross from Boyce went straight through him. Shocker from the artist. I doubt he will be painting that scene any time soon.
Once again ( how often have we said that), we were cut open too easy, offered too little in attack, squandered what little opportunities came our way, gifted needless goals, were error strewn across the back and lacked the ability and tactical nous to alter the outcome.
There's no doubt that County overall deserved to win this encounter, with a little help from ourselves.We did have better spells, but these were unsustainable due to our own frailties. A lot of tough talking to be done during the winter break. I'm sure we won't all like the result, but if it changes our fortunes, so be it. If not then it's Championship for us and a bleak future, that's the reality of the situation we find ourselves in. Ten games without a win does not make for good reading, it's not all down to misfortune.
tm4tj MotM:- Tommy Tremarco continues to give. Another goal, his sixth of the season and willingness to get forward when required makes him my MotM. To be honest it was not a difficult choice as others around him disappointed. Owain Fon Williams may still be struggling with spasms, something must be affecting the way he has performed recently is beyond sloppy. Iain Vigurs was again poor, but he was not alone. Billy King showed signs of improvement when he came on, as did Alex Fisher. Other than that, the rest need to take a long hard look at themselves. The young team tried their best to lift spirits on the field but were let down badly. Some investment is needed if we are to get out of this, but the stats tell us otherwise.
Anyway, Happy New Year. Enjoy the break.