Inverness' dismal run of League Cup results continued with defeat at Cove.
This was a must win game for Inverness if they were looking to progress in the competition. Sean Welsh was out after rolling his ankle against Stirling Albion and David Carson missed out after taking a knock against Albion. There were some 'friendly' faces in the Cove ranks with Vigurs, Draper and McAllister in opposition.
Manny Duku had a shot cleared off the line in the tenth minute after intercepting the ball and driving into the box. Ten minutes later Mark Ridgers was called into action to deny Neill after a corner. Play moved to the other end and Gardyne and Doran combined to play Duku through on goal but he shot wide. Half an hour gone and Sutherland and Duku combine to give Allardice an opportunity but he lashed the ball over. Cove opened the scoring in the 35th minute when Leighton McIntosh scored. A couple of minutes later and Cove doubled their lead through Mitch Megginson. Megginson then shot over the bar before Sutherland shot over at the other end and then keeper Gourlay denied Duku after McAlear found him in the box with an excellent ball. Plenty of action but no goals for Inverness at the interval.
Sutherland went close five minutes into the second half after Gourlay fluffed a clearance. Ridgers tipped a Scully shot over the bar as play moved to the other end and Ridgers also saved from Megginson on the hour. Sutherland headed over after Walsh put a tremendous cross into the box with twenty minutes left. With ten minutes left Sutherland headed another Walsh cross onto the post and wide. Walsh himself had an effort scrambled off the line as Inverness pressed for a lifeline. However Yule completed the embarrassment for Dodds duffers with a third goal five minutes from the end after shambolic defending. A penalty to Inverness in the 90th minute offered little consolation for the Caley Jags but Duku duly converted from the spot.
RIG of Wyness Shuffle fame was not impressed: That was grim. Despite a first half that was arguably quite even in terms of chances created as soon as Cove were two goals up the game was over. Duku and Sutherland both passed up decent chances for us with Duku perhaps missing the best opportunity when he rounded the keeper and decided to take about 74 touches in the box before having a shot. Neill and Draper looked quite suspect at times. Unfortunately for us our entire defence looked even worse with Broadfoot and Deas really struggle to understand where one another was. Duffy looked incredibly rusty at RB and was continuously beaten by Leitch down the Cove left side whilst Harper, although reasonable enough getting forward, is a little suspect defensively for me.
Wonderful opening goal for the home side. nice little dinked ball over the top of the ICT defence and McIntosh sent a superb curled effort beyond Ridgers into the net. Barely a moment later Cove had a second. Another ball over the top found Megginson and he easily beat Ridgers for number two. With this the game was pretty much over as we struggled to get anything going in the second half. Walsh had the best chance when Duku sped past a Cove defender and cut the ball back from the bye line but Walsh saw his effort blocked and then cleared off the line. Cove's third goal looked, from the opposite end of the pitch, a little similar to the chance Walsh had missed. Bursting run into the box, ball cut back and Yule finished well to wrap things up. Although a penalty from Duku saw us get on the scoresheet it did nothing to mask a pretty desperate performance.
I don't particularly care about going out of the League Cup, we have been dreadful in it since this new format was introduced, but I am bothered about the poor performances against Stirling and Cove Rangers. The latter had nothing to play for, only had 14 fit players available and were absolute toilet for their first three games yet they cigared past us no problems. I'm also worried that there were evident problems on the pitch which Dodds did nothing to address. The players still seem to be adjusting tot his 442 / 4411 setup Dodds is trying to implement. Last night we were outnumbered in midfield and struggled in the centre of the pitch for long periods yet nothing was done to change it which was a concern. When we did look threatening it was when we had the ball on the deck and were passing it around but too often we were sending high balls up towards Duku and Sutherland who struggled to control them under pressure from Draper and Neil. It was evident this wasn't working yet it seemed to be our main way to "attack".
We need to improve and quickly. <<understatement alert>>
Full highlights from Cove