A wee surprise was in store when it was announced that Jennings was unfit. Thankfully Shaun Hutchison was able step into the breach. As a result Clancy moved to right back allowing Hutchison and Craigan to resume their central defensive partnership. Hateley stepped up to fill the holding midfield slot.
We gave the home side the boost of an early goal when an ICT free kick was only partially cleared and we failed to challenge at the edge of the box. Davis was set up on the ‘D’ and his well placed effort beat Randolph at his left post.
Motherwell made little headway in the following twenty-odd minutes. The only treat came from a dribble in the box from Murphy that ended with a harsh yellow card for simulation. Inverness looked the more likely to score and only a string of saves from Randolph prevented a second.
To add to our woes Hammell was on the wrong end of a bad challenge from Meekings that resulted in him leaving the pitch on a stretcher with Forbes coming off the bench. Clancy switched to the left and Hateley moved to right back.
Inverness kept us under the cosh but we managed to sneak one back five minutes before the break. Hateley’s corner from the right was returned to him and his second effort into the box was met by Hutchison’s head. There was almost a second in the added minutes as Murphy came close before the half time team talk.
The home side kept the initiative when the game resumed and they should have taken the lead when Tade was presented with a clear shot from the corner of the six yard box. Fortunately he was high and the ball rattled the bar on its way to safety.
We were playing with none of the fluency of confidence that characterised the opening third of the season and had to rely of hard work, some dogged defending and poor finishing from the hosts to stay in the game. With 25 minutes remaining Daley was sent on to replace Humphrey as McCall searched for a way to get us into the contest.
Tade forced a point blank save from Randolph and our goal was under severe pressure. Butcher replaced him with Hayes moments later. Inverness goal the goal they play merited when Shinnie won a scramble at the edge of the box an slotted beyond Randolph.
Within a minute we scored an unlikely equaliser. In a rare foray into the opposition half Lasley had a blast from over thirty yards and it flew beyond Esson. The flag waving ‘Well support behing the posts rose as one as the ball crashed into the net.
Forbes made way for young Carswell and moments later Inverness were reduced to ten men when Hogg saw red for hauling down Murphy and denying a goal scoring opportunity. Hateley lined up the resulting free kick from 25 yards. Surely we couldn’t steal the game? His shot delfected off the wall and found the net. Unbelievably, we were 3-2 up.