The Caley Jags started 2022 with a game played in poor conditions at Gayfield. In a first half controlled by the weather chances were minimal. Joel Nouble burst into the box along the byeline but Mark Ridgers blocked to snuff out the danger. Aaron Doran drifted a curling shot just wide soon after before firing a second one high over the bar minutes later. Colin Hamilton went close after a lay-off in the box but it rose just over the corner of the bar. Ridgers saved low from Nouble inside the box five minutes before the break as Arbroath looked to have mastered the wind better, but the big fellow scuffed his shot somewhat to make the keepers job easier. Cammy Harper replaced the injured Aaron Doran a minute before the interval, leaving our bench even more fragile as the half time whistle went at 0-0. A big scramble in the visitors box just after the interval from a corner saw us hack the ball clear after some pinball. James Craigen slid a ball across the face of the goal from the left but it was just wide of the post and at the other end David Carson appeared to clip the outside edge of the post as he fired an effort from the edge of the box. The game petered out thereafter with neither side looking likely to score as the ball eluded everyone at the vital moments and a draw it was. Grim stuff in less than favourable circumstances and a point apiece it was.
Full Time: 0-0
The first game of 2022 was another top of the table clash, this time it's Arbroath who head the table with Inverness three points behind looking to close the gap in a six-pointer at Gayfield in front of a covid restricted 500. A live stream was available from ArbroathFC TV for those not able to attend the game. Could the Smokies maintain the gap or could Inverness closed the gap and reduce the the seven goal advantage that Arbroath hold? Remember, every goal is a double pointer today.
Arbroath still have Joel Nouble for another couple of games and have taken Jack Hamilton back on loan (to add to the chaos with Chris & Colin already at Arbroath - Hamiltons R us) but were without the injured Scott Stewart. Inverness were returning off the back of a bout of covid on Boxing Day and a waterlogged postponement on the 29th against the Pars, who had been thumped on Boxing Day by Arbroath. Our last outing was a disappointing home defeat to Hamilton Accies, so no Festive cheer for us. Sean Welsh had been injured and was still missing with MacGregor, McAlear, Jamieson and Cammy Mackay all unavailable. Ryan Esson filled the sub keepers jersey with our bench a bit sparse.
Inverness had the strong wind at their backs in the first half with conditions challenging to say the least. Clear chances were hard to find throughout the ninety minutes with David Carson coming closest for the visitors. Even top scorer Michael McKenna struggled to make any headway. Second half Substitute Jack Hamilton did find the net as he deflected a wayward shot behind Ridgers but he had come back from an offside position before sticking out a boot to turn the ball into the net and offside it was.
The report is basically as in the summary as the wind ruined any chance that a game of football might break out. Well done to both sides for venturing out in that weather and trying their hardest to put on a show. Alas, the weather won convincingly, even beating the Smokies TV stream as it conked out for around twenty minutes in the first half. So, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
More detail in the OFFICIAL REPORT from ICTFC
Dodds with the wind...