Ca­ley This­tle on high but Stag­gies laid low

ICT and County match re­ports

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - FRONT PAGE - BY PAUL THIRD

Ca­ley This­tle mid­fielder Joe Chalmers be­lieves les­sons have been learned af­ter his side held on to record a 1-0 win against Ayr United on Satur­day.

Jor­dan White’s header se­cured Ca­ley Jags their sec­ond home league win of the sea­son and moved them to within 10 points of lead­ers Ross County with a game in hand, against Ayr on Jan­uary 29.

It was a com­fort­able win against Ian McCall’s side and a stark con­trast to the pre­vi­ous week­end where In­ver­ness let a lead slip as they con­ceded twice in the fi­nal five min­utes to lose at home to Queen of the South.

Chalmers said: “It was a mas­sive re­sult for us.

“Our home form this sea­son has been re­ally dis­ap­point­ing with only the one win and we were des­per­ate to give ev­ery­one a lift by win­ning at home so it was a mas­sive win which, with the re­sults else­where go­ing our way, was im­por­tant.

“At half-time we talked about not af­ford­ing to have an­other game where we are say­ing the same things over and over again.

“We scored a good goal and we showed we had learned from last week by manag­ing the game bet­ter and were com­fort­able hold­ing out for the 1-0 lead.

“We’ve been work­ing on it in train­ing and speak­ing about it.

“When you know what you are do­ing you can stay calm. We showed when we get it right we can be calm un­der pres­sure and all-round it was a good per­for­mance. ”

Chalmers knows the re­sult was an im­por­tant one for his side as they try to catch neigh­bours County in the race for the Cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

He said: “It’s been a mad league. One week you find your­self closer and then one bad re­sult it’s ‘oh no, is that our chance gone?’ I’ve learned we can’t worry about that too much, we have to look at our­selves.”

They have waited a long time to see an­other one, but Ca­ley This­tle sup­port­ers were fi­nally treated to a sec­ond home league win of the sea­son from John Robert­son’s side on Satur­day.

Jor­dan White’s header gave the Ca­ley Jags their first vic­tory on their own patch since Septem­ber, and it was a mer­ited one as they dug deep to beat Ayr United.

It was an im­por­tant vic­tory, too, with Queen of the South’s 4-0 win against league lead­ers Ross County giv­ing In­ver­ness the chance to close the gap at the top of the ta­ble and keep their play-off chal­lenge alive at Cale­do­nian Sta­dium.

This was a meet­ing of two teams search­ing for a morale-boost­ing vic­tory. United ar­rived at Cale­do­nian Sta­dium with­out a league win since scor­ing five with­out re­ply at Dundee United on Novem­ber 30, while the hosts had one win and three de­feats in their last five matches.

Liam Pol­worth dragged a shot wide af­ter 30 sec­onds for the home side but it was United who had a great chance to break the dead­lock when Ross Docherty’s pass sent Michael Mof­fat clear on goal. But with Carl Tre­marco, play­ing at right back, get­ting across to put Mof­fat un­der pres­sure, he fired straight at Mark Ridgers.

Mof­fat caused the home side a lot of prob­lems in the open­ing pe­riod and only a poor first touch de­nied him an­other chance at the back post.

In­ver­ness came close to pun­ish­ing the vis­i­tors for not tak­ing their chances when Tom Walsh’s cross from the right found Aaron Do­ran, but the winger’s pow­er­ful 10-yard shot struck the post and Ayr cleared the dan­ger.

Ayr con­tin­ued to carry a threat on the counter but it was In­ver­ness who dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion and their pres­sure should have paid off seven min­utes be­fore the break when Jor­dan White ex­changed passes with Do­ran, but he dragged his shot wide.

United came out strongly for the sec­ond half and Craig Moore should have hit the tar­get from De­clan McDaid’s cor­ner, but the striker could not di­rect his header on tar­get.

Play swept from one end to the other as the two sides pushed for a goal with Doohan deny­ing White be­fore Jamie McCart made a ter­rific block to clear Craw­ford’s cross for Ayr.

From the clear­ance In­ver­ness surged for­ward and Walsh saw his shot turned away for a cor­ner by Ridgers.

Some­thing had to give and it was the vis­i­tors who con­ceded as Sean Welsh got to the bye­line be­fore cross­ing for White, and the striker rose high to beat Doohan with a wellplaced header.

Do­ran should have put the game beyond the vis­i­tors when Walsh sent him clear on goal but, with only Doohan to beat, the Ca­ley This­tle winger fired wide.

ROAR­ING SUC­CESS: Ca­ley This­tle striker Jor­dan White cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing the win­ning goal in In­ver­ness’s 1-0 Cham­pi­onship vic­tory over Ayr on Satur­day

RIS­ING TO CHAL­LENGE: Jor­dan White heads in the goal that gave Ca­ley This­tle a home win over Ayr United and keeps their play-off chal­lenge well and truly alive

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