Inverness Athletic 2-3 Orkney
Inverness Athletic and Orkney played out and entertaining five goal thriller yesterday in Ardersier, with the visitors securing all three points in the final minutes of normal time.
In what was a brilliant day for football in Ardersier, Athletics first fixture at their new home, Manager Jason Golabek made a number of changes to the side that secured a creditable draw away to Golspie Sutherland last weekend. Matthew Mackenzie, Dominic Macaulay, Ryan Slaney and Jamie Fraser all got handed their first starts of the season as Luke Mackay dropped down to the bench.
The opening stages of the match were dominated by the visitors, who were unlucky not to be in front with their first attack of the game, but were met by a fantastic save by Slaney in the Athletic goal. Orkney continued to pile on the early pressure as Athletic struggled to get out of their own half, and that pressure told just 3 minutes into the game. Liam Delday sprung the offside trap and slid the ball under the onrushing Slaney to give the islanders the lead.
Athletic looked shell-shocked by the start from the visitors and their lacklustre start continued after the concession of the first goal, with Orkney nearly going two nil up within the first 5 minutes. Athletic finally got some breathing space at the back after winning a corner after some good defending from the Orkney back Line. Thomas Lewis swung in the corner and after a scramble the ball dropped at the feet of Graham Stewart who stroked it into the corner of the net.
That goal seemed to wake Golabek’s side up, and it was Athletic who were very much on top now as they went in search of another goal, but a combination of a poor final ball and wastefulness Infront of goal would see them get no reward for their spell of pressure, and they were made to pay. Owen Randel drove into the Athletic box and hammered the ball into the far corner of the net to give Orkney the lead, very much against the run of play.
Inverness continued to work hard to find a way back into the game and that work was rewarded just a minute before half time. Tom Fulton picked the ball up wide on the right, skipped past a couple of challenges and hit a stunning strike from the edge of the box with his left foot that sailed into the top corner of the Orkney net.
Half Time – Inverness Ath 2-2 Orkney
The second half was an entertaining affair, with both sides battling for control of the game, which was there for either side to take.
Inverness did have a number of opportunities to get their noses Infront but only had themselves to blame as poor finishing would see efforts from Tom Fulton, Graham Stewart and Ben Craig-Hislop all go over the bar.
At the other end Ryan Slaney was doing his best to keep his side in the contest. He pulled of two fantastic saves to deny Orkney with the pick of them a stunning save to his left to push the ball away to safety.
Debutant Dominic Macauley was inches away from opening his account for the club but was thwarted by the upright, as he saw his stunning right foot drive from outside the box cannon off the post and away to safety.
Athletics’ wastefulness Infront of goal would come back to haunt them in the final minutes as Orkney secured the three points. Liam Delday danced his way down the left wing, got free of his marker, drove a cross into the box where Owen Randell controlled the ball, spun and passed it into the far corner of the net to give Charlie Alway’s side a win in their opening game of the season.
Full Time – Inverness Ath 2-3 Orkney
Jason Golabek spoke to us after the game, “We are gutted with that today. We honestly felt that we deserved at least a point from that game, but we only have ourselves to blame. We can’t miss as many opportunities as we have today and expect to win football matches. We also need to learn to stay switched on right to the death of games. That’s 3 goals conceded in the final 5 mins of games over the last two weeks. These are things we will work on this week with the lads. That being said, we have so many positives to take out of the game. We are creating plenty chances and are playing some nice football at times, we just need to be a tad more ruthless Infront of goal. The lads will be back into training this week as we prepare for next weekend’s derby against Loch Ness”
Picture Credits - Stuart Wilson @ SWP Photo