Second-half goal blitz sees Caley Thistle past Dunfermline

Shaun Rooney scored his first goal for Caley Thistle.
Shaun Rooney scored his first goal for Caley Thistle.

Caley Thistle extended their unbeaten league run to 16 games with a confident 3-0 victory over Dunfermline.

Shaun Rooney netted his first goal for the club at the start of the second half and Liam Polworth added a second, before George Oakley slotted in the third with seven minutes remaining.

This was comfortably Caley Thistle’s most polished performance of the season, as they remained solid in defence and regularly picked off the struggling pars on the break.

The Caley Jags made two changes from the 2-2 draw with Alloa Athletic a week ago, with Aaron Doran and Jordan White coming in for Nathan Austin and George Oakley.

Dunfermline had won the last two encounters between these two sides at East End Park and came close to open the scoring on 17 minutes through Miles Hipployte, who crashed a shot off the cross-bar after Joe Chalmers’ header fell to him.

Inverness’ first opportunity came 11 minutes later, with Chalmers involved at the other end and the midfielder should have done better with his header. Doran swept the ball out to Tom Walsh on the right flank and he stood the ball up to the six-yard box where Chalmers and White converged, only for the former Motherwell and Celtic man to head over.

Lee Robinson in the Dunfermline goal was called into action for the first time shortly afterwards, after Lee Ashcroft’s slip had gifted possession to Doran. He fed Walsh and while he was angling away from goal, he still managed to get a shot on target that Robinson saved.

Joe Thomson headed over for the home side from a similar position to Chalmers, as both teams started to find their feet towards the end of the opening period.

A superb fingertip stop from Ridgers ensured the scores remained level at the break as he flicked over Louis Longridge’s half-volley.

Rooney gave Caley Thistle the lead six minutes into the second half after the Pars failed to clear a Polworth free-kick. Doran teed up Walsh to cross and Rooney rose amid a crowd of players to head across goal and in.

Pars boss Allan Johnston brought on one of his new signings, Robbie Muirhead, in a bid to improve his attacking options, but they were struggling to test Ridgers.

A wonderful counter-attacking goal gave the Caley Jags their second as Oakley played in Doran on the right flank, with his cross met first-time at the back post by Polworth, who slid the ball back across goal into the far corner.

Oakley sealed the points with seven minutes to go, racing away from Ashcroft to get on to Doran’s flick and roll in the third.