The only change from our last friendly game was that Connor Ripley replaced Dan Twardzik between the sticks. Inverness kicked the game off and within five seconds had passed the ball right out the pitch. A few seconds later Gary Warren lunged into a tackle on Scott McDonald which saw the former booked and the latter needing some treatment.
Motherwell scored a couple of minutes after play restarted after a nice crisp passing move and shot that Stephen Pearson arrowed towards the bottom corner. The outstanding Owain Fon Williams made a good save but all he could do was parry into the path of the onrushing Wes Fletcher who gleefully opened his account.
Inverness struggled to gain any momentum and Motherwell played some good stuff. The only concern was the number of chances that were being spurned. The biggest culprit was McDonald who missed a penalty earned by Marvin Johnson after a superb passing move and a delicious turn and run. The offender was again Gary Warren and he was fortunate Crawford Allan decided there was to be no further punishment.
Ten minutes before the break Pearson and Warren both went for a loose ball with a fair amount of ferocity. Warren got there first and Pearson received a caution for his troubles. Warren didn’t restart and was replaced by Liam Polworth. Pearson limped on to the break and then was replaced by Jack Leitch.
Controversy ensued just before the break. Inverness plodded on with 10 men until Polworth was ready and David Raven decided to get him on quickly by passing the ball out of play. Our hosts seemed somewhat surprised when Motherwell tried to score from the resulting throw in but neither I nor the ‘Well fans around me understood their anger.
The second half started well for Motherwell. Johnson had a couple of sharp shots that Fon Williams and Raven did remarkably well to keep out. By five minutes into the second half we should have been four or five up.
However the second half saw a dip in performance as the legs seemed to get heavy and Inverness began to dominate possession and territory. But for all that they lacked any pace and cutting edge and Motherwell rarely were under much pressure. There were a couple of minor scares, firstly when McDonald’s loose pass was intercepted by Nick Ross in the midfield. A foul on the edge of the box allowed Greg Tansey a free hit from 21 yards but the Motherwell wall held firm.
Louis Moult replaced Fletcher but struggled to get involved until David Clarkson replaced the unusually subdued McDonald. When Clarkson came on they seemed to link well and both had shots well blocked in the dying minutes as Motherwell saw the game out without the normal siege from the side trailing by one.
Listening to Radio Scotland on the way down the road everyone was talking about Dundee’s impressive rout at Kilmarnock and without the profligacy in front of goal, there could and should have been a similar scoreline in the Highland capital. Same again next week please.
Inverness 0 Motherwell 1
Team: Ripley, Hammell, Laing, McManus, Pearson (Leitch 45), Fletcher (Moult 65), Johnson, Lasley, Chalmers, Law, McDonald (Clarkson 82)