No. of Shots
Shots on Target
|Goals||Vigurs (14, 32)||
Jamie MacDonald, Mark O'Hara, Mark Connolly , Conrad Balatoni , Kevin McHattie , Stevie Smith, Jamie Hamill (Scott Robinson 82), Josh Magennis, Craig Slater (Dale Carrick 45), Tope Obadeyi (Greg Kiltie 45), Kris Boyd .
Subs Not Used: Mark Ridgers, Ross Barbour, Darryl Westlake, Lee Ashcroft.
Barry Richmond @ Caledonian Stadium
It was going to be one of those 'I was there' games with SIX supporters’ clubs represented on the same bus. The Travel Club hosted with the Killie Club, Howard Arms, Dreghorn, Burns' and Saltcoats all travelling together in a show of unity only befit of a club struggling to bring the fans back in. Even some of our biggest die-hards opted to miss this one out, and as we froze our bollocks off going through the Grampians it was no surprise why.
We got to Inverness and hit their town centre social club, as it turns out we should have stayed there and the brevity of this match report only reflects the Killie performance we had to endure. I don't know officially how many Killie fans were there, it could have been double figures, but there was no highland welcome for those who braved the cold of Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
The only change in the starting line-up from last week was McHattie in for the suspended Findlay, that didn't work out so well. Fourteen minutes in and the defender decided against shepherding the ball out for a corner and instead pass it weakly back into the box to an oblivious Balatoni...only for Polworth to latch onto it and slide it across to Vigurs for an easy opening goal.
I'd like to say that the opening exchanges were pretty even, but they were not, Inverness had the game by the scruff of the neck and were well on top for the whole first half. We had a chance in the 25th minute when Smith was taken down just outside the box, but the resultant free kick was smashed a foot or more over the bar by last week's goal scorer Kris Boyd...accuracy giving way to power...maybe that's the Samson effect of his miraculous hair growth.
Things would go from bad to worse seven minutes later when Smith was given the run-around by Polworth who threaded the ball through to an unmarked Storey on the right wing. He knocked a hopeful ball across the box that was stepped over by Vincent and landed perfectly at the feet of Vigurs who tucked it into the near side corner past Connolly, who was on his arse at this point, giving McDonald no chance.
There was not much else to report from the first half other than yellow cards for Conrad, McHattie and Connelly...it hadn't been a good day for the defence so far and to be fair we were not getting much joy elsewhere either with little coming from the midfield and precious little for the forwards to do. Even the half time pies were mince, pun intended, but we cheered up a wee bit when it was announced that the anonymous Obadeyi was making way for Kiltie...did Slater need replaced as well though?
Kiltie’s introduction certainly seemed to liven things up a bit and it makes you wonder if the contract situation is interfering with team selection. He'd be one of the first names on my team sheet every week and if we lose him and Slater during the transfer window then we are in big, big trouble and will once again be relying on other teams having worse luck than us.
Speaking of luck, Jamie Hamill had a stonewaller turned down by the referee as his shot coming in on the diagonal was clearly handled on the edge of the six-yard box by Inverness' Warren. Stevie Wonder wouldn't have missed that but it would appear that when your luck is out then it is really out and we got nothing from the man in black on this occasion...so much for Christmas spirit which was clearly only available, at a price, back in the social club.
Both sides had a few chances as the half dragged on and if anyone deserved to edge things it was Ayrshire's finest. That proved to be the case with four minutes remaining when a Smith corner was headed backwards by Balatoni to Connelly who arrived late at the back post to casually side foot the ball back across the goal into the far side of the net. Too little, too late? Of course it was.
It didn't turn out to be an 'I was there' game after all, it was a 'wish I wasn't there' game! The long journey home is always that bit longer after a defeat and we are becoming all to familiar with the feeling...not even a Howard playlist on the way back could restore much festive cheer and the natives are becoming increasingly restless with Gary Locke's management of team affairs.
It could be worse, we could be Dundee United fans and rooted to the bottom of the league, but for now the play off place is ours and we have to buck up our ideas and get the hell out of there because at this rate we would go into any two-legged tie as the under dogs and the Hibees, Gers or the Bairns would certainly love the chance to get one over us.
A big thanks to the Travel Club for sharing their bus with all the other clubs and making it relatively easy to get to the match. They were fine hosts and it was great catching up with many people we have not had the opportunity to see of late...even if that was just to moan and groan about our on-field and off-field woes. Pantomime season is in full swing, let's hope that when it is over that there is someone still behind us!
Gary Locke: "You've still got plenty of games to go, We certainly need to start picking up points and picking up wins; the boys are well aware of that. It's a really poor goal [McHattie error on the Caley opener] from our point of view to lose, We're well in control of the situation. A lack of communication and we gift Inverness a goal. We end up having to open up and chase the game and the first-half performance wasn't great from us. We did better in the second half but you can't afford to lose goals like we did today. It's very frustrating, Last week I was delighted with the performance. This week, in the second half the lads put plenty of effort and commitment into the game but we've got to show a little more quality in the final third and certainly defend better than we did for the two goals today. The response in the second half was better but we need to make sure we're working and fighting hard for 90 minutes."
All images © Sandy Ferguson and should not be reproduced without his permission