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  1. 1 point
    All down to the final game Despite beating Livingston 0-1, Inverness have left themselves too much to do on the final day of the season and will be in the Championship for another year........ unless miracles do happen and Dumbarton beat Dunfermline. Robbo made one change from the side that agonisingly drew with Dunfermline at the weekend. Nathan Austin made his way to the bench with Connor Bell starting. Iain Vigurs sat out the second of his two game suspension, no doubt pleased that he has scooped the CTO Player of the year award as well as Players Player and Fans Player award. Having secured second place in the Championship, David Hopkin rested one or two players with play-off games getting close. Neil Alexander, Craig Halkett, Nicky Cadden and Scott Pittman were all on the bench. Plenty of posturing in the opening few minutes and a couple of free kicks for the visitors but nothing doing. Early opportunity for the Caley Jags but Maley parried Polworth's free kick and grabbed the loose ball from Tremarco. Frizzell forced Ridgers to save with his feet as Livi ventured forth and Robinson went close shortly after. From a corner, Tremarco cleared a goalbound effort and at the other end a Polworth effort was deflected just over. Livi were racking up the corner count and Buchanan went close with a powerful header just over as the hosts set the pace. Near the interval Mullin picked up the ball in the box and snapped a volley just wide, however we made it to the oranges without conceding, but playing second fiddle for most of the half. As it stands at the break, the play-offs are beyond Inverness. It looks as though Robbo will need to introduce a bit of width for the second half as the narrow approach was just not working. Half Time 0-0 There must have been something good in the oranges. Less than one minute after the break a Tremarco cross came loose off Oakley and Polly drilled the ball low and hard into the net to open the scoring from twenty five yards. Superb strike from Polly. His next effort a couple of minutes later was less flattering. New balls please. Jordan Thompson tried to replicate Liam Polworth's strike but missed the target. McMillan did likewise soon after. Livi made their first change with Cadden replacing Mullin. Inverness reacted by bringing on Hearts target Jake Mulraney with Aaron Doran going off on the hour mark. Polworth broke forward and his cut back found Chalmers but his low shot was gathered by Maley in the Livi goal. Polly becoming more prominent and he combined with Bell but his close range effort went over. Livi made a double change with McMillan and Frizzell being replaced by Halkett and Miller as they tried to get back on level terms, but it was Oakley that went close for the visitors, his shot deflected behind for a corner with around twenty minutes left. Ridgers did well to deny Ryan Hardie and from the corner, Declan Gallagher almost netted an equaliser. Polworth blazed a thirty yard free kick wide and at the opposite end Craig Halkett fluffed his lines and shot wide. Livi were cranking up the pressure in the final ten minutes looking to preserve their eight game unbeaten home run, De Vita looking the likeliest to make the breakthrough. A Cadden corner was headed wide by Halkett as the clock ticked slowly towards the end, and we all know what happened at the weekend. Oakley broke the home possession but his powerful shot was palmed away by Maley, and with five minutes left Zak Elbouzedi came on for Connor Bell. Coll Donaldson took a knock in the last couple of minutes but Inverness held on to take the points and extend the season to the final game against Morton. Full Time 0-1 So, it all boils down to the last scheduled day of the season after we beat Livingston to set up the play off qualifier against Morton. Unfortunately, after their late equaliser against us last weekend, Dunfermline can get the job done by taking a point from the visit of Dumbarton as we would need to score something like eight or nine goals to replace them in the play-offs. Great result for Inverness who have given everything over the last hectic month and what a strike from Polworth to win the points. Catch the action here.................... Date: 24/04/2018 Venue: Tony Macaroni Arena, Livingston Attendance: 740 Referee: Colin Steven Livingston: 0 Lineup: Maley; Longridge, Buchanan, Gallagher, McMillan (Miller 71), Frizzell (Halkett 71), Mullin (Cadden 58), De-Vita, Thompson, Robinson, Hardie Subs (not used): Alexander; Jacobs, Pittman, Byrne. Scorers: none Booked: none Sent Off: none Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Polworth, Trafford, Chalmers, Doran (Mulraney 60), Bell (Elbouzedi 86), Oakley Subs (not used): Esson; Calder, Austin, Mackay, Brown Scorers: Polworth (46) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  2. 1 point
    Last Gasp Agony Inverness now require a miracle of biblical proportions to make the play-off after a 95th minute goal snatched our destiny from our own hands in a pulsating match against the Pars. It was always going to be a big ask to win our remaining eight games, but we looked to be getting down to the last two until the stoppage time equaliser ruined the day. Nicky Clark did the dastardly deed with almost the last touch of the ball heading home a set piece to spoil our weekend. The Pars had gone ahead after some slack play at the back, Andy Ryan scoring. However, Joe Chalmers found the bottom corner of the goal with a super free kick and when Nathan Austin surged forward to thunder the ball into the net it was looking good until the last few seconds when a draw was snatched from the jaws of victory. Influential playmaker and the voters & players player of the year Iain Vigurs was suspended and in came Charlie Trafford to the midfield. Gary Warren missed out through injury and Collin Seedorf slotted in at right back with Brad Mckay moving alongside Coll Donaldson at the heart of the defence. Carl Tremarco replaces Riccardo Calder in a straight swap at left back. Dunfermline had on form Fraser Aird keeping Jo Cardle on the bench and former Inverness Cup hero James Vincent starting. Nat Wedderburn was also on the bench. A big travelling support boosted the crowd to near three and a half thousand on a bright Saturday afternoon, no chance of this game being called off. The Pars showed they were going to be difficult to beat in the early exchanges as they moved the ball around swiftly but it was Aaron Doran that got the first shot away, saved comfortably by Lee Robinson in the Pars goal. George Oakley tried his luck with a header that missed the target. Dunfermline made the breakthrough after some slack defending on the right side of our defence. Andy Ryan benefitting and beating Ridgers to open the scoring. Kallum Hegginbotham felt the need to hammer the ball into the North Stand in a peculiar sort of celebration and was promptly booked. Brad Mckay had a shot saved by Robinson as we looked to get back on level terms and we did just that a couple of minutes later when Joe Chalmers curled a free kick round the bottom of the wall into the vacant space beside the near post. Great strike and another that was in as soon as it left his laces. Dunfermline are a class act though and continued to play football as did Inverness and the game was moving swiftly from end to end in a great advert for the Championship. Fraser Aird brought out a fine save from Mark Ridgers with both sides probing for an opening and near the interval Nathan Austin broke down the left, cutting into the box but shot from a tight angle when a ball across the box might have been more beneficial. Half Time 1-1 The hosts exploded out of the blocks at the start of the second half and Liam Polworth and George Oakley both went close. We would do even better a minute later. Nathan Austin tussled for a ball around the half way line. He held the troublesome defender at bay for thirty yards and as he entered the box he landed a thumper of a shot which blurred behind the keeper for an absolutely superb goal. Inverness were in total control at this point and looked most likely to extend their lead with Seedorf and Donaldson going close to doing just that. A bit of a delay as a clash of heads saw Oakley being bandaged like Butcher and a Pars player also receiving attention. That would prove costly later. Substitute Jo Cardle went close for the visitors around twenty minutes from the end as Dunfermline got their second wind. Another substitute, Daniel Mackay could have sealed it for Inverness after great work by Aaron Doran down the left. He cut into the box and rolled the ball across to the other side where young Dan had made great strides to get into the box. Unfortunately his first time strike whistled just past the outside of the post. We would pay for that miss deep into injury time when Dunfermline won a simple free kick some forty yards from goal. Cardle swung a dangerous ball into the box and Nicky Clark silenced the home fans and sent the away fans delirious with a header that found it's way into the net for that all important leveller. Full Time 2-2 There was barely time to kick off and that was that. The dream almost done and dusted unless Dumbarton could do us a massive favour by beating the Pars next Saturday. It could all be irrelevant should we fail to win our last two games anyway, starting with Livingston on Tuesday night and ending at Greenock on Saturday. It had been a pulsating game with plenty of slick football from both sides. Inverness probably should have seen this one out having got their noses in front, but credit to the Pars for hanging in there. I suppose nobody could really complain about the final result but it was a hard one to take. Difficult to pick a clear MotM, but Nathan Austin got my vote for that goal alone. What a strike, showing pace, power, skill and determination. He was ably assisted by Liam Polworth, the tireless George Oakley and Aaron Doran who had the beating of the defence and was a threat whenever he went forward. Young Player of the Year Coll Donaldson put in another good shift at the heart of the defence and he would have been my pick for Player of the Year. It's not over until the fat lady sings, but she's on the final verse now. All we can do is beat Livingston and see what happens next Saturday. Unfortunately I fear the worst, but it has been a great comeback to the season after a horrendous start. Brad Mckay agrees with that, and here is his tweet: Agony that, boys have been unbelievable in the last 2 months. Unbeaten in 10 games, bad start to the season cost us dearly in the end. We keep going last two games and see what’s what. Coll Donaldson was just as gutted............ Such a disappointing end to a fantastic run! Means a lot for the team mates to vote me in as this though. Small consolation on a day like today but already looking forward to what we can achieve next year. Match highlights from Caley Jags TV Here's the goal that ruined our weekend................................ Alan Johnston talks after the game Cup Final hero from 2015 James Vincent has his say................ Date: 21/04/2018 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 3316 Referee: Stephen Finnie Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Seedorf, B Mckay, Donaldson, Tremarco, Doran (Calder 90), Polworth, Trafford, Chalmers, Austin (D Mackay 60), Oakley Subs (not used): Esson; Mulraney, Bell, Elbouzedi Brown. Scorers: Chalmers (16), Austin (48) Booked: B Mckay (32), Trafford (90), Polworth (90+2) Sent Off: none Dunfermline: 2 Lineup: Robinson; Williamson, Martin, M'Voto, Ashcroft, Higginbotham (McManus 66), Clark, Ryan, Aird (Cardle 60), Vincent, Craigan (Morris 90). Subs (not used): Gill; Wedderburn, Armstrong, Talbot, Scorers: Ryan (13), Clark (90+5) Booked: Higginbotham (13), Williamson (45) Sent Off: none a
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