New Year, same old story.
If it has happened to Caley Thistle once it has happened a hundred times. Countless goalscoring chances spurned, goalkeeper required to make several key saves, hit with the inevitable late blow.
Tom Walsh’s volley looked to have sealed just their second home win in the league this season but they were made to pay again, with Scott Mercer and Stephen Dobbie swinging the contest in the visitors’ favour.
John Robertson has bemoaned his side’s lack of quality in the final third so many times and there is only so much he can do before the players have to take responsibility.
Carl Tremarco returned for the home side after two months out with a groin injury, to take the place of the suspended Shaun Rooney. New signing Kevin McHattie was on the bench following his arrival on a free transfer.
Inverness were the more enterprising side going forward with Walsh and Aaron Doran regularly swapping flanks. Walsh teed up Jordan White for a golden chance to give the hosts the lead on 19 minutes but the striker’s header lacked power, allowing Scott Mercer to recover and block.
Watch the highlights from Saturday’s match courtesy of Caley Jags TV on Youtube below.
It was an evenly-contested first half with Queens more than holding their own, with intricate footwork around the edge of the Inverness area. Lyndon Dykes was the link man, dropping deep from his centre-forward position to bring the midfield into play and Todd in particular reaped the benefits, forcing one important save from Mark Ridgers.
The Caley Jags number one bailed out his team again when Todd escaped McKay and fired an angled shot across goal. Ridgers was equal to it, sticking out a big hand to keep it out.
There was frustration for Inverness, with Polworth often looking for runners that weren’t forthcoming, while their profligacy only raised hackles in the stand. Coll Donaldson glanced a header on to the post from Joe Chalmers’ corner but again, from point-blank range, no-one was able to turn it home.
White had been guilty of missing two gilt-edged chances, adding to his earlier miss by failing to finish from two yards when Walsh had headed against the crossbar.
Given all the creativity and guile they possess in Doran, Walsh and Polworth, the Caley Jags are crying out for a finisher.
Walsh’s crucial intervention with just over 20 minutes to go seemd to swing a neck-and-neck game in Caley Thistle’s favour, when he latched on to White’s knock-down to volley low into the net.
But the joy was short-lived as they inexplicably shot themselves in the foot. Jordan Marshall was allowed to escape down the left and fire across goal, with Mercer blasting through Ridgers from close range to restore parity. Near enough straight from kick-off McKay lost possession to Dobbie and the veteran striker meandered forward to slide in his 30th goal of the season.
Given the amount of chances Inverness had to put the game beyond reach, it was less a sucker-punch than a warning shot that failed to be heard.