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Is Caley Thistle’s fate sealed after Motherwell defeat?

Inverness manager Richie Foran
Inverness manager Richie Foran

Caley Thistle’s fate seems sealed after they came up short in a must-win game at Motherwell.

A lack of composure and basic defending consigned Inverness to another defeat which leaves them staring into the abyss of relegation to the Championship.

In a must-win game Inverness were 2-0 down inside the opening 10 minutes and while they rallied to restore parity their inability to deal with crosses into the box cost them dear as Well claimed a valuable three points.

Defeat in what felt like a season-defining game for the Highlanders leaves them five points adrift at the bottom of the Premiership with five matches remaining. Not quite mission impossible but Ethan Hunt should expect a call from Richie Foran soon.

Caley Jags went into the game having won just once in the last 21 matches but Inverness won 3-0 on their last visit to Fir Park and were facing a side with the poorest home record in the division, having taken just 12 points all season in front of their own supporters before this game.

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson’s side showed no signs of feeling the burden of their woeful home record, however, as they swept into an early lead.

There were just seven minutes played when Chris Cadden was allowed to drift infield unchallenged and the Inverness central defence parted to allow Cadden to curl the ball past Owain Fon Williams to give Well the lead.

A horrible start got even worse.

Louis Moult had time to deliver an enticing ball into the box which cried out for someone to get a touch on it.

Nobody did but in the end it didn’t matter as the cross continued to bend goalwards past Fon Williams and into the net.

A goal of great fortune for Well and what looked like a killer blow for Foran’s men.

Inverness were stunned and their day got worse as leading-scorer Carl Tremarco was forced off with a knee injury. This was turning into a day where everything which could go wrong did, but the visitors grabbed a lifeline when Alex Fisher deflected Iain Vigurs’ shot past Craig Samson.

The goal transformed Inverness and Well with Foran’s side finding a poise which had been absent until Fisher’s goal while the Steelmen suffered an instant case of the jitters.

It was not hard to see why the clubs are in the position they are in as both defences looked porous and it was thanks to the goalkeepers that no more goals came before the break.

Well survived a flurry of Inverness attacks, largely due to Caley Jags’ inability to take their chances and the visitors had Fon Williams to thank for keeping them in the game after the Wales international made a stunning double save to deny Ryan Bowman and then Elliot Frear.

Inverness then broke away with Fisher one on one with the goalkeeper, but Samson made a fine fingertip save to turn the forward’s shot past the post before making another fine block to deny the same player from the resulting corner.

Fisher would not be denied, however, and he produced a sublime equaliser nine minutes into the second half when Greg Tansey’s excellent through ball sent him clear and he showed a deft touch to lift the ball over Samson from 20 yards into the empty net.

It looked like game on but controversy followed as Well regained the lead.

Elliott Frear’s ball into the box reached attacker Scott McDonald at the back post and the Australian’s header hit Fon Williams’ right post before being punched away by the goalkeeper.

However, assistant referee David McGeachie signalled to referee Willie Collum the ball had crossed the line.

Inverness were furious but there was no debate about Well’s fourth with McDonald clipping the ball across goal for 18-year-old Allan Campbell to head home to secure the victory. So painful.

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