Dundee gave away a two goal lead to draw 2-2 in Inverness this afternoon. Marcus Haber and Darren O’Dea put the Dee two up at half time, but in the second half Caley Thistle were awarded two penalty kicks. Billy McKay scored from the first, but his second was saved by Scott Bain. However, a Greg Tansey equaliser saved a point for Caley Thistle,.
Both managers made three changes. For the Dee Darren O’Dea returned from suspension, Kevin Holt was available after being injured last week and Henrik Ojamaa came in for his debut. They replaced Nick Ross and Craig Wighton, who were on the bench, and Kosta Gadzhalov. New signing Marc Klok was named as a substitute. Caley Thistle brought in Ryan Esson in goal, replacing Owain Fon Williams, Billy King and Jamie McCart, who was playing his first Premiership match. Liam Polworth and Brad McKay dropped onto the bench.
With a horrible, cold wind howling around the ground both teams struggled to control the ball, with both defences having trouble dealing with the conditions. Caley Thistle were unfortunate not to take an early lead when Henri Anier’s vollyed cross was headed against Scott Bain’s post by Carl Tremarco.
The Dark Blues had a further scare when a quick free kick sent Billy McKay clear and his cross struck Darren O’Dea and bounced into the net. To the relief of every Dee the linesman’s flag signalled that McKay had been offside.
Dundee had threatened occasionally on the break, and Mark O’Hara pulled his shot wide from a good position after Marcus Haber had set him up. Henri Anier had an even better chance for Caley Thistle when Tremarco found him in space 10 yards out, but a great save by Scott Bain foiled him.
The Dark Blues gradually settled and started to come to terms with the wind. Increasingly they were able to find players in space as they probed the home defence. The opening goal came after 36 minutes with a neat move that carved Caley Thistle open. Kevin Holt burst infield from the left wing, pulling home players out of position. He found Tom Hateley in space and he swept the ball out to Cammy Kerr, who had time to swing over a perfect cross for Marcus HABER to score with a close range header at the far post.
Three minutes from half time Darren O’DEA put the Dee two goals ahead, losing his marker with a run to the near post where he headed home Tom Hateley’s corner.
Dundee started the second half pressing the home defence, but when Caley Thistle broke away they were able to keep the Dee under sustained pressure over a five minute spell that ended with a goal. Scott Bain beat away Billy King’s free kick then pushed Iain Vigur’s 18 yard shot round the post. Caley Thistle had a series of corners, which caused the Dundee defence problems in the strong wind. As one of these was coming over the referee Mr Walsh spotted Julen Etxabeguren pushing Billy McKay and pointed to the spot. MCKAY took the penalty himself and rolled the ball home with Bain going the wrong way.
Dundee responded well and almost scored immediately. Henrik Ojamaa played the ball across goal and Paul McGowan fired against the post from eight yards. Just after the hour Caley Thistle had a controversial escape when Mark O’Hara showed neat skill to beat Tremarco on the right and run along the byline. His cross was met on the volley by Ojamaa, but Gary Warren managed to scoop the ball away, with the Dundee players claiming it had already crossed the goalline. Tom Hateley sent his follow up shot past the post.
As play swept from end to end only a fine double save by Scott Bain kept the Dee in the lead after Billy King’s cut back. First he blocked Ross Draper’s shot and then Iain Vigurs’ follow up. Within a minute Dundee should have put the game out of Caley Thistle’s reach when Ojamaa sent McGowan clear, but with only the keeper to beat the Dee midfielder sent his shot over the bar.
Dundee were looking dangerous on the break, but gave away a soft penalty when there seemed no real danger. Etxabeguren misjudged a high ball and clumsily came over the top of Henri Anier as they jumped. Billy McKay sent his second spot kick exactly the same way as his first, but this time Scott Bain pulled off a great low save.
With 12 minutes left were again caught out in the wind when a long ball allowed Billy McKay ran clear. Bain saved his shot, but Greg TANSEY followed up to equalise.
The game opened up towards the end as both sides tried hard to grab a late winner. Marc Klok and Faissal El Bakhtaoui came on for Tom Hateley and Henrik Ojamaa. No sooner was he on the field than El Bakhtaoui had a shot charged down following a clever move on the left by Haber and Holt.
Dundee were looking the more dangerous side in the final few minutes. Paul McGowan’s pressing almost forced a winner in the last minutes of injury time. David Raven’s hurried backpass had to be handled by Ryan Essson to stop the ball running past him and setting up an open goal for McGowan. The referee awarded an indirect free kick, which McGowan touched sideways for Marc Klok, whose shot was blocked.
This was definitely a case of two points lost today. Without playing particularly well in the first half the Dee had managed to create what should have been a winning lead. In the second half the Dundee defence often looked vulnerable, especially when the ball was swirling around in the strong, gusting wind. Nevertheless, the Dark Blues created some very good chances and should really have clinched the points regardless of the conditions.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 4-4-2
Raven, McCart, Warren, Tremarco
King (Polworth 85), Draper, Tansey, Vigurs (Mulraney 85)
Anier, Billy McKay
Unused subs: Fon Williams (gk), Ebbe, Boden, Brad McKay, Cole.
Goals: Billy McKay (52 pen), Tansey (78).
Booked: Billy McKay (dissent), Tremarco (foul on O’Dea).
Dundee FC 3-5-2
Etxabeguren, Gomis, O’Dea (c)
Kerr, Hateley (Klok 83), O’Hara, McGowan, Holt
Ojamaa (El Bakhtaoui 85), Haber
Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Vincent, Williams, Ross, Wighton.
Goals: Haber (36), O’Dea (42).
Booked: O’Dea (foul on King), Etxabeguren (foul on McKay), McGowan (foul on King) .
Referee: Nick Walsh. Assistants: Michael Banks, Gary Hilland. Fourth official: Ryan Milne.
Report: James Christie.