Well repell Caley Thistle fightback

First-half goals from Alan Gow and Nicholas Blackman secured the

win at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, despite a late fightback from

the hosts who reduced their arrears through Stuart Duff. A fourth

home league defeat for Inverness, coupled with Dundee United’s win

at Hamilton, sees the Highlanders slip to fifth in the league.

Inverness goal hero Eric Odhiambo, who scored the late leveller in

the 1-1 draw against Rangers last Saturday, was part of a strong

attacking line up alongside the Irish trio of Adam Rooney, Richie

Foran and Jonny Hayes. Odhiambo came in for Russell Duncan, who was

left out of the squad, while midfielder Lee Cox recovered from an

ankle injury to be named as a substitute, his first inclusion since

the end of September. Motherwell brought in striker John Sutton for

midfielder Ross Forbes in their only change to the side which lost

1-0 at home to Hamilton last weekend. Both sides showed attacking

intent in the opening stages and Nick Ross might have opened the

scoring for Inverness after just three minutes, but his low shot

from the edge of the box went inches wide. Goalkeeper Ryan Esson

prevented Sutton from breaking the deadlock moments later when his

low first-time shot was pushed wide after being found by Chris

Humphrey. Stephen Craigan was on target with a header from a Tom

Hateley free-kick, but Esson saved again. Hayes picked out Foran

who was one-on-one with Darren Randolph, but the goalkeeper was

equal to it. Randolph was at full stretch to deny Hayes midway

through the half when the Irishman’s low drive was tipped wide

after he cut inside the area. Esson was next to be called into

action when he parried out Blackman’s thunderbolt after Ross was

caught in possession. Esson made another top drawer diving save on

the half-hour to prevent Hateley’s 25-yard free-kick finding the

net. But Esson was finally beaten when Gow netted from close range

with a header following a goalmouth scramble after Humphrey’s

clever short corner with Hateley. Blackman doubled the lead on 43

minutes when his shot from 30 yards took a wicked deflection off

defender Grant Munro and looped over a stranded Esson into the net.

Blackman squandered the opportunity to extend Motherwell’s lead

after the break when he latched onto a Steven Jennings through

ball. With support either side and attackers outnumbering

defenders, the on-loan Blackburn striker lifted his shot over the

bar. Gow could have had his second just after the hour but directed

his header wide when he connected with a Jennings cross. Rooney

powered a header just over with 20 minutes to go after Duff’s quick

free-kick played in centre-back Ross Tokely, who provided an

inch-perfect cross to the striker. Inverness finally broke through

Well’s rearguard when Duff’s 25-yard drive on 74 minutes found the

bottom corner after Rooney’s lay-off. Inverness substitute Shane

Sutherland shot just wide from distance after beating Craigan as

the hosts hunted for an equaliser in the closing stages.