No. of Shots
Shots on Target
Jamie MacDonald, Luke Hendrie, Scott Boyd, Steven Smith , Iain Wilson *. Rory McKenzie , Greg Taylor , Gary Dicker, Jordan Jones, Souleymane Coulibaly, Nathan Tyson.
Subs Not Used: Devlin MacKay, Martin Smith, Innes Cameron, Charlee Adams, Flo Bojaj, Adam Frizzell, Dean Hawkshaw.
* First League Start
Alan Walker @ Rugby Park
After a complete turdfest at Fir Park last Saturday, the Killie fans were hoping for (a) a better result; and (b) a better performance. Thanks, in no small part to the Killie players and management, the Inverness Caledonian Thistle players and management, and referee Nick Walsh, we got (c) none of the above. Lee Clarke was forced into one changed from the side that faced Motherwell, with young rookie Wilson coming in for Ross County owned Scott Boyd. Wilson had a decent game, although against one of the worst teams in the league, and it is a shame that a loanee is keeping him out of the team. However, in a results-based business, it is perhaps the sensible option.
Killie’s first attempt at goal was a Steven Smith free-kick on the tenth minute. Needless to say, given Smith’s general play, it didn’t trouble the ICT keeper. The next action in the game was a booking for Ross Draper, a shot on goal from Tremarco, which was easily held by Macdonald, and a substitution for ICT striker Doumbouya, who had spent most of the game sitting on his backside. That took the despairing crowd up to 20 minutes, but it had felt like a lifetime.
ICT had been down to nine men for many parts of the opening twenty minutes, with Doumbouya injured and McKay having treatment for a hefty nosebleed. However, only the Killie fullbacks showed any creativity due to Smith and Dicker unable to pass the ball along the ground to a blue shirt and Jones unable to make a cross which managed to beat the first man and not go flying over the last. Whenever Killie looked like they might get some ascendancy, the man in black managed to blow the whistle (or not) when even Stevie Wonder could have seen what really happened.
The first of such incidents was a handball in the ICT box. A corner from Jones was delivered to the back post and Will Boyle just managed to head it back towards goal. Dicker flicked it on only for the balls progress to be impeded by a hand. It would have been a harsh call, but it was the first of many handballs which would define the game. While Inverness were absolute pony, they still were getting chances. Another poor refereeing decision allowed a free-kick to be delivered to the Killie box. However, Gary Warren was a few feet wide with his header with Will Boyle doing just enough to put him off by barging into him rather than head the ball away. Penalty shouts fell on deaf ears.
Handball incident number two came shortly after. A characteristic slack past from Dicker went straight to Larnell Cole. However, Steve Smith was on-hand to dispossess him and sent Jones down the wing. Jones’ cross didn’t beat the first man again, but this time due to a blatant handball, that even Walsh seen. However, he decided that it wasn’t intentional and the penalty wasn’t given. Tyson was doing well with what he was given, which wasn’t much as each pass to him was generally a hoof from one of the centre-backs or team clown (according to the players) Gary Dicker.
Tyson managed to head one such pass down to the impressive fullback Taylor. He sent Tyson with a beautifully weighted through ball and Tyson got on the end of to lob the ICT keeper. The lobbed was cleared off the line, Tyson was bulldozed by the keeper, the referee waved play on. The search for a goal for Tyson continues, but he is mostly impressing the Killie faithful. He was giving the ICT defence as torrid a time as possible. On the tiny amount of injury time allowed by Walsh (tiny in comparison to the fact that there had been one substitution and the physio had been on the park no less than four times), the referee managed one of his most ludicrous decisions. Tyson went to collect the ball, the ICT defender tried to kick him and fell over while doing so, Tyson dodged the kick and the whistle blew. Foul to ICT. McKenzie shouted in disbelief and was booked for it.
Nick Walsh was roundly booed and harangued by all on the way to the tunnel at half-time.
The second half started in much the same fashion as the first. It took ten minutes for any sort of action, other than another substitution for ICT. After some shoddy midfield pressing from Killie, Alex Fisher was put through on goal, but his weak effort trundled well wide. Coulibaly’s effort a minute later was more strongly hit, but well high. Then, for the next 10 ten minutes, ICT “fouled” Killie, then Killie “fouled” ICT, repeat ad infinitum until Taylor gets a booking for an actual foul. A few more minutes of that continues until Coulibaly decided to grab another wonder goal.
Rory McKenzie pressed the ICT midfield hard and won the ball, then fed it to Smith. Smith tried his usual long looping ball over the top of the defence. This time it worked. Coulibaly controlled the ball with his foot, his chest, and then his hand (of course, Walsh missed it). He then twisted and turned Polworth inside out and back to front three times before squeezing an almost impossible shot between Warren, the post, and goalkeeper Fon Williams. In fairness, he probably should have passed, but Coulibally has eyes for one thing only. Cue celebrations, shouting at the referee, and the fans clawing back about 5% of their admission fee.
Killie smelled blood but were unable to take advantage as a classic McKenzie run ended with an almost trademark weak shot which Fon Williams collected easily. Then, another handball. A throw in at Killie’s 18 yard box was poorly cleared by Dicker. As Tyson closed down the collector of the weak clearance, the ball hit his raised arms. This time, a foul was given. The resulting free-kick was floated into the box and while Coulibaly and Boyle sniffed about each other, Warren glanced a free header past MacDonald and into the back of the net.
Next up were a couple more fouls, some more bookings, and more evidence that a midfielder who can create something, anything, is badly required. Clarke stuck with the same eleven for the entire match, which was disappointing as the liked of Frizzell would have injected some much needed urgency in the game. The match ended at 1-1, when both teams losing would have been a fairer result. To summarise, four hand ball claims (one given), three penalty claims (none given), three shots on target over the entire match, and around 40% of the game spent watching ICT players sit on their bahookies or limp off with sore noses.
Next up is Top 6 stalwarts St. Johnstone on Friday night at Rugby Park (which, incidentally, is ex-Killie shirt designer Martin Le Roy’s birthday). Let’s hope that we get another smash and grab victory over them this season.
Lee Clark: "We haven't won it, which we deserved to. We've made an error that we've talked about. We cannot afford to do how you defend those type of balls. We've made an error and its cost us a big three points. Our first half performance we were the dominant side. Jamie MacDonald hasn't had a lot to do. They had a little spell in the second half where their striker was getting hold of the ball but in general terms we were the team in the ascendancy. A win would have been a deserved result but we haven't got it, and we move on. [On Coulibaly] That's why he has to be in the team. Not every game he has is a perfect game. He's playing out of position, he's working extremely hard for the side, but he has to be in the team. Certainly in these types of games because he just produces something different."
All images © Sandy Ferguson and should not be reproduced without his permission