Caley denied by late leveller

Andy Kirk gave Dunfermline a deserved first-half lead when he ran

onto Andy Barrowman’s flick-on to finish low beyond Paul Gallacher.

Greg Tansey equalised with a deflected strike a minute into the

second-half, before Kirk restored the lead only five minutes later.

Terry Butcher’s side were looking to avoid a third consecutive

defeat and responded well in the final quarter of the game. Jonny

Hayes took advantage of a Paul Gallacher fumble to equalise on 76

minutes and Inverness took the lead with only eight minutes

remaining when Tansey scored his second with a header at the back

post. There was one final sting in the tale, however, as

Dunfermline skipper Hardie curled a wonderful free-kick beyond Ryan

Esson in the final minute. Dunfermline had not played in the

Clydesdale Bank Premier League for 12 days and they started

brightly, Esson saving from Kirk after only two minutes. Jason

Thomson, on loan from Hearts, was next to threaten but his shot was

parried by the Inverness keeper but Esson was powerless to stop

Kirk opening the scoring with a cool finish on 26 minutes. Last

season’s First Division champions were causing a real threat down

both wings through Cardle and Paul Burns and after another Cardle

cross was cleared to the edge of the box, Hardie fired just wide.

Inverness had barely caused a threat in the first-half but they

were level within a minute of the second. The dangerous Tansey

showed a fine piece of skill to create some space on the edge of

the box before his shot was deflected and looped beyond Gallacher

in the Dunfermline goal. Dunfermline responded immediately and were

nearly back in front when Cardle’s chipped cross to the back post

was headed just over from Barrowman. The Pars were back in front

five minutes later though when shambolic defending from Inverness

left Kirk all alone only six yards out to easily nod another Cardle

cross into the net. With the game becoming increasingly stretched

there was plenty of opportunity for both sides to counter-attack

and Cardle threatened again on the break but his cross from the

left was glanced wide by Barrowman. Caley Thistle should have been

level for the second time when Doran’s cross was headed towards

goal by Richie Foran. The ball appeared destined for the net but

Gregory Tade inexplicably applied the final touch when in an

offside position and the goal was disallowed. Spurred on by that

disallowed goal Butcher’s men had undoubtedly their best spell of

the game in the final quarter. Hayes’ effort from 20-yards was

fumbled by Gallacher but collected at the second attempt. There was

to be another uncomfortable moment for the former St Mirren

goalkeeper as Inverness got back on level terms with just under 20

minutes remaining. Owain Jones’ shot from 30-yards was spilled by

Gallacher and Hayes pounced to slide in his first goal of the

season. Moments later the visitors were nearly in front when

Esson’s long ball upfield was knocked on by Foran and substitute

Nick Ross almost made an immediate impact with a fine strike that

swerved just wide. In an end-to-end encounter, Barrowman almost had

Dunfermline back in front with a rising drive from 18-yards but was

denied by an excellent one handed save from Esson. Caley Thistle

took the lead for the first time in the game with only eight

minutes remaining when Tansey scored his second with a simple

header after Ross Tokely had headed across goal. All hope looked

lost for Dunfermline but they were saved by a Hardie’s wonder goal

right on 90 minutes. The midfielder curling a fully 30-yard

free-kick high into the net beyond Esson’s despairing right-hand.