Chalmers to the rescue as Raith see Red
The scrap for play-off places intensified as Inverness produced a smash and grab raid at Stark's Park. Rovers had led 2-1 at the interval through Connolly and Poplatnik with Sutherland scoring between those goals. Kyle Benedictus saw red with twenty minutes remaining and it looked like the game was slipping away from Inverness as they entered the 90th minute. Step forward substitute Logan Chalmers who single handedly won the game for the visitors with two outstanding goals. Both strikes hit with power, accuracy and a deadly left foot from distance. Not bad for your first goals for the club. Raith ended the game in total disarray as Ben Williamson was also sent off. Partick were humped 4-0 by Accies and we jump above them to third but Killie and Arbroath power on at the top of the table with wins.
Inverness were still without midfielders Scott Allardice and Roddy MacGregor although the club have stated that MacGregor could be back in full training soon. Inverness were unchanged from the side that beat Arbroath 3-0. Which meant that Cammy Mackay kept Mark Ridgers on the bench. Raith had Ethan Ross back in attack with Varian and Poplatnik and a strong bench although only seven on it.
A beautiful Spring afternoon in Kirkaldy as the temperatures soared and greeted the teams as they took to the field. Inverness in their favoured pink strip started the day one point ahead of the dark blue Rovers. And it was Inverness that set the ball rolling at 3:00pm.
The visitors were first to threaten inside a minute when Doran and Hardy combined inside the box before it appeared that Hardy's shot came back off the woodwork before bouncing to safety.
Open start to the game from both sides who were on the front foot from the off.
Raith opened the scoring after the first corner. It was cleared to outside the box but Aidan Connolly drove towards goal where it looked as though it squirmed under Cammy Mackay and into the net. Looks like a blunder from the keeper inside a busy box.
Joe Hardy came close to an equaliser but Macdonald did well to save and then denied Sutherland on the follow up.
Keeper Jamie MacDonald had to be replaced after an injury forced him out of the game in a clash with Doran. Robbie Thomson replaced him.
Shane Sutherland tapped in after an Aaron Doran corner but the leveller was short lived as Matej Poplatnik put Raith back in front minutes later. Sloppy defending by Inverness once more.
Half Time: 2-1
Rovers were all over us like a rash at the start of the second half as we struggled to get a hold of the ball. A couple of efforts fired over the visitors bar were warning enough and Austin Samuels came on for Joe Hardy ten minutes into the half.
Our attempts at creating anything were becoming predictable and time after time we wasted balls forward which were mopped up easily by defenders or substitute keeper Robbie Thomson.
So, long aimless ball after long aimless ball was proving to be a complete waste of time one hour into the game and it was becoming more difficult to see where a goal might come from.
An opportunity did materialise from one of those dubious offside interplays but Mackay bounced the ball just past the post as he was flattened on the edge of the box.
Cammy Mackay did well to turn a shot round the post for a corner as Rovers broke forward and they were reduced to ten men when Kyle Benedictus was sent off for a rash challenge on Kirk Broadfoot who reacted angrily and was yellow carded.
A scramble in the Raith box failed to produce a goal as Rovers managed to clear their lines calmly.
Austin Samuels shot over from the edge of the box as Inverness became more desperate in their efforts to level the game as we approached the eighty minute mark, unfortunately our final ball left a lot to be desired. Time after time the final ball would skip through for a goal kick and another wasted chance. It was a difficult watch to be honest, even against ten men.
Out of the blue, Logan Chalmers scored a beauty after a corner found him outside the box some twenty five yards out on the left side. He looked up and sent a beauty dipping into the net, unbelievable strike.
Even more unbelievable, Logan Chalmers scored another peach from nearly the same position. This time he arrowed a low strike into the bottom corner for another superb goal. A daisy cutter on an artificial pitch, that's a first.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
Raith's Williamson then joined Benedictus for an early bath with seconds remaining.
What a turnaround at the end as Raith finally lost their discipline but it took two spectacular goals from on loan striker Logan Chalmers to win the points when it looked like we were heading for defeat and a disappointing performance. It might be seen as papering over the cracks for now, but I'll take that over a disappointing defeat.
Raith ended the game with nine men as Ben Williamson was sent off with the last puff of the whistle, their search for a win over Inverness heading towards 22 years and counting.
MotM might well go to Chalmers for his two late strikes as prior to that we looked incapable of breaking down Rovers, even when they were reduced to ten men.
Billy Dodds post match
Match Reaction to follow...
This is football— Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (@ICTFC) March 19, 2022
Absolute scenes pic.twitter.com/rjULpnIYsR
*Dunfermline v Partick on Tuesday night*
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John McGlynn speaking on Raith TV