KARMA BIG STYLE
Inverness opened the scoring when Joe Chalmers cut onto his left foot and curled the ball into the roof of the net from sixteen yards for a sublime goal. Chalmers almost added a second but he volleyed onto the bar from six yards when the ball found him unmarked. The first half ended at 1-0 with Ridgers a virtual spectator. Substitute Paul McMullan blatantly cheated to earn a penalty and Nicky Clark slotted his second in two games. In a dramatic finish, Nathan Austin had a marginal offside decision go against him as he superbly headed home a Polworth free kick, however, Aaron Doran nodded home after a fantastic knock on from Jordan White to win the tie in the second minute of time added on.
Hampden here we come.....................
A place in the semi-final beckoned for the winner and an opportunity for some welcome income to go along with the prestige of a kick about at Hampden. It doesn't get much better than that surely!
The last time we were at Hampden Park we came home with a nice wee trophy to show for our efforts against Falkirk as local artist Sophie Robb depicts, despite Tommy Tremarco falling over the ball and making us sweat. That was in May 2015.
The Arabs have waited a bit longer for Scottish Cup success. They lifted the trophy in 2010 beating the wee team from the Highlands in the final. The olde adage, big team big cup, wee team wee cup still stands today.
A big home support were out in force today as they remembered James Jack, a local fan who sadly passed away recently and a minutes applause would break out in the 31st minute in his remembrance.
To the game, and John Robertson made three changes from the side that lost at Tannadice on Tuesday night. In came Carl Tremarco, Aaron Doran and Jamie McCart, and on to the bench went Charlie Trafford, and Shaun Rooney with Kevin McHattie and Anthony McDonald out injured.
Robbie Neilson has Fraser Fyvie and Cammy Smith back in but Calum Butcher missed out through injury. Frederic Frans is out for around six weeks.
Over 7200 fans were on hand to watch this spectacle as United kicked off but it was the visitors that pressed high and forced United onto the back foot in the opening exchanges.
Big Jordan White has grown into his role up front for the Caley Jags and he did well to hold up and feed the ball to Aaron Doran who fired the first effort towards goal. Benjamin Siegrist felt the need to push it round the post for a corner.
Doran was teasing the United defence and he was brought down on the left side. Liam Polworth flighted a lovely ball into the box but White got under it and headed over from an inviting position.
The opening goal would come in the 19th minute and a thing of beauty it was. We won possession on the halfway and Doran linked brilliantly with Polworth, a cheeky wee backheel from the wee man allowing Polly to chip a ball to the left edge of the penalty box where Joe Chalmers gathered. He stepped inside the defender and curled a magnificently sweet shot into the keepers top right corner. It was his first of the season and I doubt he will score a better goal.
Three minutes later it could have been two and no more than our dominance deserved. A teasing ball from Doran skimmed off a defender and Chalmers came in behind to crack one off the bar from six yards. What a let-off for United.
Tremarco made a trademark 'putting your body on the line' block as Peter Pawlett tried to get a shot away. Tenacious defending from Tommy.
The 31st minute saw a rousing round of applause for James Jack as the whole stadium joined in.
United had settled into the game a bit more but the Highland rearguard were repelling the feeble United attacks and Mark Ridgers was a mere spectator other than grabbing a few crosses with confidence.
The first penalty appeal for United passed without action from the referee. He would be fooled later in the game.
A dominant performance by Inverness in the first half who could easily have been three up. However, the strike from Chalmers it was that separated the sides.
The procession continued in the second half and Polly fired one straight at the keeper. Neilson had seen enough rubbish from his side and removed Cammy Smith to replace him by Paul McMullan who would play an active part in their equaliser later in the game. If memory serves me right, this is not the first time same player has managed to con a referee.
The one way traffic continued though and Polly and Chalmers threatened to add a second. It was Charlie Trafford who was inches away from it with a thunderous drive that whistled high past the post with maximum power.
United had brought on Morgaro Gomis by now and he seemed to add a bit of steel to the Arabs midfield. They managed to create an opening for a strike that was similar to Trafford's effort. This one from McMullan was a legitimate effort that Ridgers had to deal with, diving to his right to beat the ball away, Coll Donaldson completing the clearance at the expense of a corner. From the corner we failed to execute a decisive clearance and United burrowed into the box. White stuck a toe out and McMullan felt a tap on his boot. His delayed reaction told me he thought about it before leaving his two legs behind to con Steven McLean into awarding a penalty. Like Tuesday night, Nicky Clark took it and like Tuesday night he put it behind Ridgers in a replication penalty.
Undaunted we took up where we had left off, on the front foot and big Jordan was denied twice as he forced his way into the box, Siegrist doing well to smother after he had turned his marker. Doran also was foiled by the keeper.
With ten minutes left Nathan Austin thought he had scored with a magnificent header across the keeper. The celebrations were cut short when the linesman flagged for offside. Wow, that's some eyes that man has as this must have been down to millimetres. Great effort from the Inverness sub.
The board showed that there would be three minutes of time added on as the game was heading for a replay.
We still looked the most likely to win the game and in the 92nd minute Doran paved the way for Robbo to sprint onto the pitch in joyous celebration. Brad Mckay would take a throw in deep down the right flank. He launched a beauty into the box where big Jordan was in between two defenders. He won the ball cleanly to head flick it into the box and there was Aaron arriving at the right time to head the ball bravely into the net with Siegrist scrambling the other way across his line and a boot almost connecting with Doran's ear.
Scenes! Cue wild celebrations from Robbo, the players and the visiting fans.
Off to Hampden for a semi-final game and a day out for our fantastic support. Also a wee financial boost for the accountants who will be chuffed about this.
Rooney and Austin picked up late bookings as we frustrated United into submission. One booking we could have done without was an earlier one for Donaldson at the dubious penalty award.
Aaron Doran was MotM, and not just for his goal, his all round game showed he was a menace to United from the start. To be honest you couldn't fault anyone in a total team performance. Jordan White has become a fans favourite after a stuttering start at Inverness and he showed yesterday how important he is to our game plan. Chalmers was incredible as well and Liam Polworth showed his value with some great through balls. Unsung heroes all over the park and none moreso that Charlie Trafford who was immense in the engine room.
So, a cup semi-final to look forward too. We will find our destiny after the Partick v Hearts game tonight.
Action can be seen on the BBC Sport website
Here's an ecstatic Robbo talking after the game.........
Here's another version of the game.............