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Caley Thistle denied move up to fifth spot in Championship by late Dunfermline equaliser

Inverness looked to be on their way to victory through Danny Devine's goal, however Lewis McCann struck a late equaliser for the Pars.

Max Anderson in action against Dunfermline's Joe Chalmers. Image: SNS
Max Anderson in action against Dunfermline's Joe Chalmers. Image: SNS

Duncan Ferguson’s unbeaten start continues, but Caley Thistle were denied the chance to move up to fifth spot in the Championship by a late Dunfermline leveller.

The Pars went the closest to finding the net in the first half with multiple efforts which came off the woodwork, before Danny Devine gave the Highlanders the advantage shortly before the break.

Inverness looked comfortable for large spells of the second period but were always going to face a late rally from the home side, who levelled with three minutes remaining through Lewis McCann.

Given it was the only second-tier fixture of the weekend, the point was enough for Caley Jags to make a further move up the table into seventh.

They were minutes away to making further strides towards the play-offs but Ferguson believes the result continues Caley Jags’ recent progress.

Caley Thistle boss Duncan Ferguson. Image: SNS

Ferguson said: “It was an incredible game. Dunfermline were fantastic – they peppered our goal with a lot of efforts which hit the bar and the post.

“We rode our luck, but in the second half I felt much more comfortable. They never had as many chances as they did in the first half.

“We were good as well though, we showed our qualities on the ball. We showed our threat and created chances.

“When you’ve got five minutes left and you’ve got the three points, you just want more.

“You are always thinking that they were putting us under a lot of pressure. We never defended a long ball, and the boy struck it well.”

Ferguson had the luxury of being able to name the same side for a third successive game, with defender Morgan Boyes passed fit having struggled with a hip flexor issue during the week.

Nikola Udjur blocks a Lewis McCann effort. Image: SNS

It was an open contest in the early minutes of the game, with Max Anderson having the first attempt for the visitors with a low strike which was gathered by Deniz Mehmet.

At the other end, Lewis McCann was presented with a headed opportunity from Josh Edwards’ cross, but he steered his effort wide.

Inverness looked purposeful when they broke forward, and were showing confidence in their passing, but they survived an onslaught of pressure from the hosts just before the 20 minute mark.

An Owen Moffat cut-back set up another chance for McCann, whose effort came back off both posts before bouncing clear.

Nathan Shaw in action against Dunfermline. Image: SNS

Dunfermline hit the woodwork twice in another move just moments later when Kane Ritchie-Hosler’s header came back off the post, before the ball again ricochetted off the upright after Danny Devine attempted to clear it, with the visitors eventually staving off the danger.

Inverness’ best chance of the first half came from a slick move on 27 minutes when Anderson burst into the box before squaring for Billy Mckay to help it on to Cameron Harper, who had the goal at his mercy but blasted wide.

The Pars were remarkably denied by the woodwork twice in close succession once again just after the half hour mark. The move stemmed from a poor backpass by Boyes which allowed McCann in on goal, with the striker rounding Ridgers before striking the post from an acute angle.

The ball fell to Moffat on the rebound, whose strike was superbly blocked by Nikola Ujdur to divert it on to the crossbar.

Inverness took the lead in the most timely fashion just three minutes before the break however. The ball was worked to Anderson following a corner, with Devine taking it down before applying a delightful low finish into the far corner.

Danny Devine celebrates scoring against Dunfermline. Image: SNS

Caley Jags were boosted by their goal as they second half got under way, with David Carson unable to get the right angle on a low strike following a neat passing move.

More fine attacking play followed, with David Wotherspoon curling an effort wide after drifting in from the left.

Inverness began to play some sublime football but the Pars offered a reminder of their threat on 62 minutes when McCann’s tempting ball across the face of goal forced Harper to make a vital clearance as Ritchie-Hosler attempted to meet it.

Caley Jags’ best chance of a clinching second came when Carson crossed for substitute Luis Longstaff to sidefoot a volley over.

Lewis McCann nets a late equaliser for Dunfermline. Image: SNS

The Pars upped the pressure in the dying minutes, with Ewan Otoo unfortunate to see a rasping long-range strike come back off the post.

They were not to be denied with three minutes remaining however, when McCann latched on to a Joe Chalmers ball before taking aim with a strike which crept in off the upright to ensure a share of the points.

Player Ratings

DUNFERMLINE (3-4-2-1): Mehmet 6; Fisher 6, Hamilton 6, Otoo 6; Ritchie-Hosler 6 (O’Halloran 69), Allan 6, Chalmers 6, Edwards 7; Todd 6 (Jakubiak 60), Moffat 7 (Wighton 69); McCann 8.

Subs not used: Sharp, Little, Comrie, Fenton.

CALEY THISTLE (3-5-2): Ridgers 6; Ujdur 6 (Duffy 65), Devine 8, Boyes 6; Carson 6, Shaw 7, Gilmour 7, Anderson 8, Harper 8; Wotherspoon 7 (Welsh 83), Mckay 7 (Longstaff 65).

Subs not used: Mackay, Welsh, Delaney, Lodovica, Brooks, Thompson, Sheridan.

Referee: Euan Anderson
Attendance: 5,034
Star Man: Danny Devine