FonWil­liams­makesIn­ver­ness­pointwith anas­sured­dis­playa­gain­stQueens

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - THE SCORE -

Some­times the most for­get­table matches, even those mem­o­rable for the sheer ab­sence of spec­ta­cle, can prove piv­otal mo­ments in a team’s sea­son. Ca­ley This­tle can only hope this was one of them.

It would take a great stretch of the imag­i­na­tion to sug­gest the home con­tin­gent in the 2,082 at­ten­dance will re­call this game in any de­tail when­ever, and how­ever, their favourites’ fate is de­ter­mined at the end of the sea­son.

But if pos­i­tive re­sults flow in com­ing matches, with a re­dis­cov­ered abil­ity to carry out de­fen­sive ba­sics aligned to re­cent at­tack­ing edge, then this pal­lid 0-0 draw might prove a turn­ing point. Cer­tainly, it was a start­ing point in terms of the Ca­ley Jags play­ers an­swer­ing John Robert­son’s plea to get back to ba­sics.

Cap­tain Gary War­ren, an es­sen­tial part of past suc­cesses in what now seems a dis­tant era of ac­com­plish­ment, was sus­pended but the cen­tral de­fen­sive duo of Brad McKay and Coll Don­ald­son dis­played some prom­ise as a pair­ing.

What proved de­ci­sive in seal­ing the scram­bled point, though, was the per­for­mance of Wales in­ter­na­tional goal­keeper Owain Fon Wil­liams, earn­ing only his sec­ond ap­pear­ance of the cam­paign.

On three oc­ca­sions at least, Fon Wil­liams spared his team a grisly fate. One of those saves was down to ex­pe­ri­ence and a calm re­duc­tion of the very favourable odds pre­sented to Queen of the South’s Cal­lum Tap­ping, square on goal.

The oth­ers were mo­ments fa­mil­iar to the home faith­ful. If Fon Wil­liams’ wage re­ally was as­sessed as too great for the club in the startof-sea­son as­sess­ment, might there be a re­think af­ter a per­for­mance like this?

What it all boiled down to was a drop of one po­si­tion in the Cham­pi­onship ta­ble for In­ver­ness, into 11th, but at least an en­cour­ag­ing move­ment to­wards so­lid­ity and as­sur­ance at the back against a player of Stephen Dob­bie’s ex­pe­ri­ence and men­ace.

Dob­bie’s luck was out in sev­eral close calls for Queens as they found their threat in the sec­ond half, push­ing for a win­ner and, though frus­trated, still climb­ing to fifth in the ta­ble af­ter a solid point. Af­ter re­cent re­crim­i­na­tions over de­fen­sive fail­ings, the im­prove­ment for the hosts was quickly ap­par­ent.

When de­fender McKay sent a header just wide of tar­get af­ter seven min­utes few would have ex­pected that to be the best of it for Robert­son’s men who of­fered very lit­tle else of­fen­sively through­out the 90 min­utes.

Dob­bie, in­creas­ingly, was the man mak­ing Queens tick as the sec­ond half opened and he had a strong penalty claim waved away early on af­ter a du­bi­ous Don­ald­son chal­lenge.

Just be­fore the hour, Dob­bie’s snap­shot from just in­side the penalty area was par­ried to safety by Fon Wil­liams and, soon af­ter, the same front player dragged an at­tempt past the post from 12 yards.

A huge mo­ment came af­ter 72 min­utes. John Rankin’s lovely pass threaded Cal­lum Tap­ping straight in on goal but Fon Wil­liams stood strong to make a vi­tal save. Through the fi­nal ex­changes, the Dum­fries team looked the only one likely to tri­umph. But, in the cir­cum­stances, the home clean sheet was a tri­umph in it­self.

“Fon Wil­liams spared his team a grisly fate”

ROUGH AND TUM­BLE: Ca­ley This­tle’s Iain Vig­urs tus­sles

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