SFL v Inverness Caley Thistle


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 3728, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Willie Collum

For the visit to the Caledonian Stadium Dunfermline brought in Nick Phinn for Ross Campbell - the only change from the starting eleven at Ayr the previous Saturday. Joe Cardle sat out another game as he completed his two match ban.

Inverness centre back Grant Munro and midfielder Lee Cox were out suspended.┬ That made way for Nauris Bulvitis and Roy McBain to line up againt the Pars.

Conditions were┬ sunny but blustery as the home team ┬ kicked off┬ defending the goal at┬ the Kessock Bridge end. In the opening five minutes it was Caley that got nearer to shooting range with skipper Richie Foran running deep down the left and Eric Odhiambo shielding the ball in the Pars box. Next Andy Dowie cut out a strong ball from Foran on the half way that might have put Adam Rooney through and it was all towards Chris Smith`s goal.

In tenth minute David Graham appeared to break through between two players to latch on to a sweet Phinn pass but the offside flag was raised as he got into a perfect position 16 yards out to square for Steven Bell to net. Dowie led the charge upfield three minutes later but Willie Gibson`s curling shot dropped into the arms of Ryan Esson.

Chris Higgins headed away a Russell Duncan shot for the first corner of the afternoon in 23 minutes but Caley were kept out as both Foran and Odhiambo`s efforts were blocked. When the ball was returned from the right Smith held Foran`s downward header at his right hand post.

In 26 minutes hitting on the break┬ Nick Phinn┬ thought he had scored.┬ He controlled a good diagonal ball from Gibson and chipped Esson to send the ball into the net off the crossbar.┬ Initially it looked like Referee Willie Collum had given the goal but he signalled a free kick and yellow carded the Pars man.

Caley forced a couple of corners on the left and at the other end Esson grabbed a speculative cross but there was really little to rouse the relatively quiet stadium. McDougall and Golabek clashed on the edge of the Thistle box, both requiring treatment before play resumed with just five minutes remaining.

Woods was taken out late by Foran to earn Gibson a delivery from a free kick that slipped through the Caley penalty box evading the good efforts of Bell and Dowie to connect.┬ Gary Mason conceded a 45th minute corner as Hayes dangerous cross came in from the right but the defence kept the title challengers out for the scoreline to remain blank at the interval.

Half Time: Inverness Caley Thistle 0 Dunfermline 0

Ross Campbell replaced Steven McDougall for the second half.┬ In 47 minutes Calum Woods and Richie Foran clashed heads bringing the physios on again and from the resulting corner Chris Smith made a great save to keep out a Bulvitis header.┬ At the other end Phinn made Esson hold a┬ good shot and then Smith kept out Hayes with the ball ricocheting off both his feet.

Caley kept up pressure on the Pars defence with corners and free kicks and all attempts to take play to the other end were being snuffed out. Then in 55 minutes a long ball sat up nicely for Adam ROONEY and he chipped Smith from 20 yards to put the ball in the net to the delight of the home fans,

Two minutes later Gibson, not wearing his yellow boots here, made Esson push the ball behind for a corner but he followed that up by holding the cross.┬ The Caley fans were on their feet to celebrate news that Dundee had gone two behind at Greenock when Odhaimbo carved a hole through the Fife defence and his ball to the left was struck home by FORAN.

Five minutes later with Graham still lying on the deck, a quickly taken free kick by sub Graeme Holmes set up a cross that Mason almost put past Esson but the red shirted keeper kicked the ball off his line. Mace was then replaced by Alex Burke but Dunfermline lacked any real penetration and were fortunare that Chris Smith pulled off another fine save to turn a Rooney cracker over the crossbar.

Inverness continued to create chances with McBain and Foran feeding Rooney on the left but sub Sanchez couldn`t get a touch to the Dubliner`s cross.┬ An 80th minute corner brought them no luck either but with news of Ross County`s goal at Airdrie the ground again grew pretty quiet.

Holmes headed an increasingly┬ rare Dunfermline chance at Esson in 91st minute but the Highlanders return to the SPL was probably only postponed for a few more days.

INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE; Ryan Esson; David Proctor, Ross Tokely, Nauris Bulvitis, Stuart Golabek; Jonny Hayes (Dani Sanchez, 73), Eric Odhiambo (Robert Eagle 87), Russell Duncan, Roy McBain, Richie Foran (c) (Lionel Djebi-Zadi 93); ┬ Adam Rooney.
SUBS:┬ Dan Stratford, Kyle Allison (GK).
SCORER: Rooney (55), Foran (63)

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Calum Woods, Chris Higgins, Andy Dowie, Austin McCann (c); Steven Bell, Gary Mason (Alex Burke 73), Willie Gibson; David Graham, Nick Phinn (Graeme Holmes 58), Steven McDougall (Ross Campbell HT)..
SUBS: Greg Ross, Greg Fleming (GK).
YELLOW CARD:┬ Phinn (26), McCann (53)

REFEREE: Willie Collum
WEATHER: Sunny, cool wind 12C
ATTENDANCE: 3728 (approx 200 Pars fans)

NEXT MATCH: (Home) First Division v Morton
Saturday 24th April 2010, kick off 3.00pm

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