Dundee’s bad record in Inverness continued today with a poor performance and a 3-1 defeat. Inverness Caley Thistle scored two early goals through Lonsana Doumbaya and a Greg Tansey penalty. Liam Polworth added the third just after half time. Nicky Low’s first goal for the Dark Blues was a beautifully struck free kick, but too late to change the game.
Dundee made two changes from last week. Nicky Low came in for his first start of the season, and was joined by Michael Duffy. They replaced Danny Williams, who was on the bench, and the suspended Mark O’Hara. Caledonian Thistle’s only change was to bring Jake Mulraney in for Iain Vigurs.
The match started scrappily with neither side able to hold the ball or make passes. When the game did spring to life it was extremely uncomfortable for the Dee. Jake Mulraney tried to run at Kevin Holt, who stopped him with a crisp tackle. The ball broke to Ross Draper who was foiled from 15 yard by Scott Bain’s fine fingertip save. The reprieve lasted only a minute before Caley Thistle took the lead with a poorly defended goal. Brad McKay sent in a deep cross from the right. Lonsana DOUMBAYA had slipped onto the wrong side of Julen Etxaabeguren and glanced a neat header into the corner of the net from 10 yards.
If the first goal was poor there was an element of bad luck about the second. Etxabeguren challenged Billy King on the right edge of the Dee’s penalty area. King went down, and with no appeal from the home players or fans Mr Clancey pointed to the penalty spot, a decision met by surprised laughter from the home stands. Greg TANSEY hammered home the penalty confidently, and without playing particularly well Caley Thistle were two up with only 16 minutes gone.
After this depressing spot of excitement the rest of the first half degenerated into the messy, mistake ridden game we’d seen in the first few minutes. Crucially, however, Caley Thistle didn’t make mistakes where it mattered. Throughout the game their defence was tight and careful, even if they often used the ball carelessly further forward.
The Dark Blues struggled to get their midfield into the game. The passing wasn’t sharp enough, and the movement too sluggish to give any good options to players on the ball. The result was moves that petered out with either safe and easy passes backwards, or optimistic forward passes that were easily mopped up.
Dundee’s only two efforts on goal in the first half were a good shot by Faissal El Bakhtaoui from 18 yards that Williams managed to parry, and a neat move just before the break when Paul McGowan played in Cammy Kerr. The full back took his shot quickly but Williams made the save of the day to deny him. That was the only moment in the first half when the Dark Blues managed to put together an incisive move.
The last few minutes before the break was the Dee’s best spell of the first half and offered some hope for the rest of the game. Dundee started the second half well, attacking with far more conviction. Nicky Low’s cross flew through the goalmouth, missed by the home defence, Michael Duffy and El Bakhtaoui. McGowan then went close after Kerr’s cross broke to him, but again Williams tipped the ball round the post.
The start of the second half had been all Dundee but the good work was thrown away with a soft goal conceded when there seemed no danger. The Dark Blues were focused on attack rather than defence when a misplaced pass in midfield ricocheted to Brad McKay and Dundee were suddenly wide open. McKay had time to play in Liam POLWORTH who ran through to slip the ball past Bain.
The third goal knocked the stuffing out of Dundee who lost the impetus they’d briefly been threatening to build up. Caley Thistle were increasingly comfortable and settled happily onto the lead they’d been given so easily. Midway through the Kevin Holt’s wildly misplaced backpass should have led to a fourth goal. Polworth intercepted the ball, rounded Bain and laid the ball back to the better placed Mulraney. With a goal looking inevitable Bain raced back to save superbly.
Dundee used all three substitutes, sending on Rory Loy, Yordi Teijsse and Danny Williams for Tom Hateley, Michael Duffy and Nick Ross. The changes opened up the game, but neither side could settle on the ball and build dangerous moves. Caley Thistle’s defence continued its obstinate refusal to make the sort of mistake that looked Dundee’s best hope of pulling a goal back, whereas Dundee always looked capable of conceding another goal. Gary Warren almost added to the home side’s tally but his header from a corner was cleared off the line by McGowan.
Dundee had plenty of the ball in the final third, but offered very little threat. Careless passes, poor touches and miskicks ended most attacks. With seven minutes left Nicky LOW scored his first goal for the club, and it was a peach, by far Dundee’s best moment of the match. He curled a free kick from 25 yards over the ball and just inside Williams left hand post.
The Dee couldn’t manage a late charge, though Danny Williams forced another good save from Owain Fon Williams deep into injury time. Caley Thistle finished the game comfortable winners, and had never been in any trouble after Polworth’s goal had settled the match at the start of the second half.
There was little in this game for Dundee fans to be satisfied about. The defence always looked vulnerable. The midfield created very little and Dundee were toothless in attack. What is particularly disappointing is that Caley Thistle didn’t really play very well. However, they defended sensibly and took their chances, punishing Dundee’s mistakes. Both sides can play much better than this, and Dundee will certainly need to. They were far too generous to their hosts today.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 4-2-3-1
McKay, Warren (c), Meekings, Tremarco
Mulraney (Cole 86), Draper, King (Doran 75)
Doumbouya (Fisher 61)
Unused subs: Mackay (gk), Vigurs, Boden, Sutherland.
Goals: Doumbaya (7), Tansey (16 pen)
Booked: Doumbaya (foul on Etxabeguren), Warren (foul on Teijsse).
Dundee FC 4-2-3-1
Kerr, Etxabeguren, O’Dea (c), Holt
Hateley (Loy 54), Ross (Williams 75)
Duffy (Teijsse 60), McGowan, Low
Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Vincent, Gadzhalov, Wighton.
Goal: Low (83).
Booked: Etxabeguren (foul on Draper), Ross (foul on Polworth), Low (foul on Draper).
Referee: Kevin Clancy. Assistants: Dougls Ross, Andy Milne. Fourth official: Grant Irvine.
Report: James Christie.