County hold rampant Caley Jags
Ross County held Inverness to a scoreless draw at the Global Energy Stadium in front of a bumper crowd of nearly six and a half thousand.
Inverness almost blew County away in a totally dominant first half. As the game wore on, County came back into the picture and Mark Ridgers kept the score sheet blank with a superb double save to deny McManus and Billy Mckay.
Shaun Rooney and Liam Polworth were fit enough to start but George Oakley missed out through injury. No sign of Nathan Austin anywhere, apparently suffering from slight concussion picked up in training. Iain Vigurs was on the bench for County and would be introduced later in the game to try and disable Polworth with a series of cynical tackles on the controlling Inverness midfielder. Billy Mckay, Ross Draper and Don Cowie all started.
Ginger Jaggy has penned this report for us..................
The game may have ended in a draw but there is only one team that will go away satisfied by the first Highland Derby of the Championship Season.
Before the game the talk of some fans was about going to Dingwall to make a statement on enemy turf.
Although the result didn’t reflect it, there definitely was a statement made.
There was only one team playing football and it wasn’t the team in Dark Blue as Caley Thistle from kick off dominated the ball and played some excellent easy on the eye football.
Liam Polworth was the standout player pulling all the strings and it was he who had the first chance early on but dragged his shot wide when in a good position.
For all County’s money that has allowed them to build the strongest squad on paper, they lacked any cohesion as a team with the CaleyJags looking more fluent and fluid in possession.
Goes to show you that football is not all about what’s on paper!
Mark Ridgers was unemployed in the first half but his counterpart at the other end was pulling off numerous saves to keep his side in it.
Scott Fox won man of the match and it was little wonder with some outstanding saves as he became last man standing in the way of the Caley Thistle juggernaut.
He first kept out Aaron Doran with a fantastic one-handed tip over before pulling off another brilliant block from the same player and recovering as fast as lightening to block Jordan White’s rebound – to the astonishment of White who thought he had an easy tap in.
White had a couple more half chances, but the score remained goalless at half time with only a harmless Michael Gardyne curler wide of goal the only chance of note for the home side.
Half Time 0-0
The second half continued in the same fashion as Polworth went close with a dipping overhit cross that had Fox scrambling but landing just on the roof of the net.
For the first hour it had all been the Caley Jags with County looking edgy and uncoordinated at the back as a long-range Chalmers shot had all the sting taken out of it and was rolling harmlessly to Fox before a panicked County defender booted it out for a throw in.
Sean Welsh should have done better in the closing stages when a deflected Polworth shot landed perfectly into his path but instead of showing composure he lent back and hammered it high into the travelling supporters.
County had made all their subs early in the half, while Inverness had failed to make one as the lack of fresh legs started to take their toll in the final 10 minutes.
Gardyne was their main man with the late chances as he continued to shoot with most going miles too high that disappeared over the jail end although one did only just skim over the bar – a warning shot.
Their best chance fell late on when Declan McManus got the break of the ball on the edge of the box and fired powerfully at goal, which Ridgers did well to stop before recovering to smother the resultant rebound and collect under pressure from Mckay.
Full Time 0-0
County’s late rally only really happened as Inverness tired but a point apiece was just about right with chances for both teams but for an hour at least Caley Thistle were on top and playing some lovely stuff.
The unbeaten run continues for another week and although it wasn’t a win, a statement has been well and truly made that Inverness will compete and are likely to be right up there come the business end of the season. That result saw Inverness toppled from the head of the table, Ayr United are the new leaders.
Here's something you don't often see in the same sentence. Willie Collum and the word praise, but Old Caley Girl managed it. Congratulations!
"Word of praise for Willie Collum who let the game flow and was restrained with the cards Different class to Aitken last week."
And Polly was also singled out by OCG and he was our MotM.
"How good was Polly running things in the middle. His best position and yesterday proved it. Happy with a point and we remain unbeaten."
Here's the footage from Caley Jags TV with the Robbo interview following........
Official Report can be found here