Dunfermline 1 Inverness CT 1

cinch Championship: Kane Ritchie-Hosler, Matty Todd and Lewis McCann start

With both clubs out of the SPFL Trust Trophy this originally scheduled Halloween night fixture was played on this November afternoon. Both sides were keen to make this game-in-hand fixture impact on their league position. Three points would take Dunfermline into the top four in the Championship, whereas three points for Caley Thistle would take them above their hosts.

Pars boss James McPake made three changes from the side that played Dundee United the previous Friday night – Kane Ritchie-Hosler, Matty Todd and Lewis McCann started. Aaron Comrie, Michael O ‘Halloran and Craig Wighton dropped to the bench. Keeper Deniz Mehmet was able to take his place after retiring at half time against United with concussion.

Inverness arrived on the back of five matches undefeated in the period since the appointment of Duncan Ferguson as their manager. He went with the same starting eleven for the third match in a row.

Rain fell throughout the warm up period and it got heavier as kick off time arrived. The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the Norrie McCathie Stand end. A strong run from Todd forced a corner within the first minute. Josh Edwards at the back post was closest to Joe Chalmers cross but it travelled out for a goal kick. The opposition earned a third minute corner on the left but that low delivery was easily cut out at the near post.

Mehmet was the first keeper in shot stopping duty, holding a fifth minute effort from 20 yards by Max Anderson. Then from an Edwards cross McCann was able to make a headed attempt but the ball bounced wide left. Inverness replied with Cameron Harper teeing up Nathan Shaw for a shot that Sam Fisher blocked. Play switched back into the Caley Thistle half and Todd, on a run, looked like he might breach the Thistle defence but last man, Danny Devine’s intervention halted the opportunity. Owen Moffat popped a shot over the Caley crossbar before McCann came even closer with a shot on 17 minutes that hit the right goalpost and travelled across the face of goal to go wide off the other post.

Two minutes later the right post kept out a Ritchie-Hosler shot as he got on to another Edwards cross and again the ball went across goal and Devine cleared behind after hitting the left upright. At the midpoint of the half an Inverness corner saw 13 players within the Pars six yard box. Mehmet punched the ball clear but Billy McKay thrashed a shot on-target that Todd defended.

In 27th minute it was Caley Thistle’s turn to come incredibly close to scoring. Anderson took the ball into the right side of the Pars box and his cross evaded McKay but Harper connected only to send the ball out wide left.

The woodwork came to Inverness’s rescue for a fifth and sixth time in 33rd minute. McCann looked set up when he intercepted a weak pass back but he hit the right post and when the ball rebounded out to Moffat he smashed his shot on to the left one. Quite a let off!

When Charlie Gilmour clipped Moffat Dunfermline we’re awarded a free kick on the right side 24 yards out but Chalmers cross was defended for a corner that proved to change nothing.

Inverness pressed towards the break and from a 43rd minute corner from the left former Par, Danny DEVINE was able to find the net from an angle on the right.

Play halted when Allan and Gilmour clashed heads. Both were able to continue but tempers frayed as players opinions on the clash varied. Hamilton for Dunfermline and Gilmour and Harper for Caley Thistle. Referee Euan Anderson called the interval after three added minutes but the Fifers had to go in to face their management after a half in which they should really have found the net.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Inverness Caley Thistle 1

It was the Highlanders who started the second half more positively and from the left side of the home box, David Wotherspoon fired a shot narrowly wide right. Inverness enjoyed much of the possession until on the hour James McPake made his first substitution. Having made his first start since July, 60 minutes were deemed enough for Todd and he was replaced by Alex Jakubiak.

The Fifers first opportunity of the second half then came when McCann got to the left byeline and squared. Ritchie-Hosler at the far post looked the most likely to convert but Harper stepped in to turn the ball behind. As the match entered its final quarter the home side were beginning to play the ball more in the Caley half. 

Both sides made double substitutions with Michael O’Halloran and Craig Wighton replacing Owen Moffat and Kane Ritchie-Hosler. Within a minute it was Wighton who forced a 71st minute corner but despite efforts from Jakubiak and Hamilton the Inverness goal survived. The visitors also survived a penalty appeal in 75 minutes when Devine appeared to haul over Jakubiak. It wasn’t looking like Dunfermline’s afternoon.

Displaying good close control Jakubiak continued to try and find a way through the Caley defence. They swarmed around him on the top of the box forcing a pass right for O’Halloran but his cross was defended. 

Into the final ten minutes and a Carson cross was scooped over Mehmet’s crossbar by sub Luis Longstaff. Then in 82 minutes the home crowd willed Otoo to shoot and from 25 yards out he smacked his drive off the right goalpost. 

Dunfermline pushed up on all sides and eventually in 87th minute the ball dropped for McCANN and his strike found the net, inevitably off the woodwork! 1-1

There was time for another but Allan’s corner was defended and Edwards long throw held by Ridgers. O’Halloran’s run won a 93rd minute corner but Athletic failed to make that count. It would end 1-1 but it was a day where Dunfermline’s luck deserted them.

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Sam Fisher, Chris Hamilton (c), Ewan Otoo: Kane Ritchie-Hosler (Michael O’Halloran 70), Paul Allan, Joe Chalmers, Josh Edwards: Owen Moffat (Craig Wighton 70): Matty Todd (Alex Jakubiak 60), Lewis McCann.
SUBS NOT USED: Aaron Comrie, Miller Fenton, Harrison Sharp (GK), Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: McCann (87)
YELLOW CARD: Chalmers (45), Hamilton (45+3)

INVERNESS CT: Mark Ridgers: Nikola Ujdur (Wallace Duffy 65), Danny Devine, Morgan Boyes: David Carson, Charlie Gilmour, Max Anderson, Nathan Shaw, Cameron Harper: David Wotherspoon (Sean Welsh 83), Billy McKay (Luis Longstaff 65). 
SUBS NOT USED: Cillian Sheridan, Adam Brooks, Zak Delaney, Harry Lodovica, Robert Thomson, Cammy Mackay (GK).
SCORERS: Devine (43)
YELLOW CARD: Gilmour (45+3), Harper (45+3), Duffy (74)

REFEREE: Euan Anderson

Manager’s Post Match Comments

NEXT MATCH: Scottish Gas Scottish Cup (home) v Raith Rovers, Friday 24th November 2023, kick off 7.45pm

The winner(s) for the 50/50 DAFC v Inverness CT 18/11/2023 draw which ended on November 18, 2023 Ticket Number WEB6368 

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