SPFL Development League
Tue 15 December, 2015. Kick Off: - 13:00
Victoria Park, Dingwall.
The Young Jags travelled to Dingwall to face Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the latest round of the Development League, as they made their way to the Highland Academy, just behind Ross County’s Victoria Park.
Having battled through difficult road conditions, the youngsters arrived in Dingwall with just under an hour to go until kick off, prompting a quicker turn around for warm ups than normally utilised. Scott MacKenzie kept faith in the same starting line up that had lost to Dundee United, but found his bench decimated due to a lot of his usual substitutes still being in school.
The game began in a thick fog and a scrappy beginning ensued with neither side being able to get more than a couple of passes in possession before conceding possession to the other side. Inverness did win the game’s first corner in the tenth minute when James Penrice did well to prevent a cross reaching the danger zone. From the corner, a strong Thistle clearance prompted Richie Foran to collapse to the turf in agony and he was promptly substituted. Thistle were growing more into the game as the half wore on, but the same problems that had previously persisted with the youngsters previously reared its ugly head, as Thistle struggled to cause Inverness problems in the final third.
It was from a poor Inverness goal kick that Thistle first created a clear cut opportunity with Dominic Docherty taking advantage, finding his effort knocked away on the goalline. Seconds later, Thistle did have the lead. It was an identical situation that Docherty found himself in, but this time his shot was well saved by the goalkeeper. Kevin Nisbet seized upon the loose ball and sent it beyond the helpless goalkeeper and in the back of the net.
The goal was slightly against the run of play as Inverness had provided most of the attacking threat early on, but it was a goal welcomed by Scott MacKenzie none the less. With the half coming to a close, Inverness grabbed a leveller. There didn’t seem to be much danger when Lopez picked up the ball on the edge of the box. He turned and fired an excellent effort into the back of the net, his strike find the top corner of Marc Waters goal.
Inverness, containing several first team players, came out determined at the start of the second. Waters had to look extremely sharp to deny Inverness as they broke through on goal. Thistle were struggling to find any fluency in their play and, at times, it was an Inverness onslaught against Marc Waters goal. With Thistle battling to try and push forward, Inverness broke on a Thistle attack with an attacker evading a number of challenges. The ball fell to Sho-Silva inside the penalty box who laid it back to MacRea who fired into the empty net, despite the best efforts of McInally who headed the ball onto the post.
Sho-Silva could, and should, have had the game wrapped up when he connected with a low cross in the penalty area, but fortunately for Thistle he could only scoop the ball over the crossbar.
As the game entered its final moments there was to be one fnal goal. James Stokes, impressive as a substitute, linked up well with McInally who found McDaid unmarked at the back post to steer the ball into the back of the net and give Thistle a battling point to take back down the A9.