Charlie Trafford’s header five minutes from time settled a five-goal thriller in Caley Thistle’s favour as the Highlanders booked their place in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup with a 3-2 win at Alloa Athletic.
Alloa came from behind twice in a pulsating encounter but Trafford’s late header settled an end-to-end encounter in the visitors’ favour.
Caley Thistle boss John Robertson made two changes for the trip to Recreation Park.
Brad McKay replaced the departed Coll Donaldson following his move to Ross County while Jordan White also came into the starting 11 in place of Nikolay Todorov who dropped to the bench.
It took Inverness just eight minutes to break the deadlock and what a goal it was as Aaron Doran rounded off a sweeping passing move which started from goalkeeper Mark Ridgers by firing high past Jamie MacDonald in the home goal.
Caley Thistle’s joy at opening the scoring did not last long, however, as Kevin O’Hara headed home the equaliser for Alloa from a corner at the near post 10 minutes later.
Alloa, buoyed by their equaliser, swept forward and had chances to take the lead with Iain Flannigan forcing Mark Ridgers into two saves while Robbie Deas had an effort which trickled wide before the break.
Caley Thistle regained their composure after the break and had a great chance to put themselves back in front through White but he failed to hit the target from six yards.
The visitors would not be denied, however, and their solid start to the second half was rewarded in the 61st minute when White atoned for his earlier miss by heading Doran’s corner past MacDonald.
Alloa hit back again, however, to set-up a frantic finale as substitute Lee Connelly whipped in a cross and O’Hara beat Ridgers with a fine first-time effort to make it 2-2.
But there was a sting in the tail as Inverness grabbed a dramatic winner with five minutes remaining as Trafford headed Shaun Rooney’s header across goal past MacDonald to secure passage to the fifth round.