CA LE Y THISTLE HEADING IN RIGHT DIRECTION
White on target as Inverness dig deep to see off visiting A yr and narrow gap on leaders
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.
Ayr pushed for an equaliser but, without their star striker Lawrence Shankland, they lacked guile in the final third and Ridgers ended the game without being tested thanks to solid defending from his team-mates.
Inverness will look to keep the momentum going and avoid a Scottish Cup upset when Lowland League East Kilbride visit this weekend.
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
Congratulations: Jordan White celebrates his decisive goal with Joe Chalmers
Eye on the ball: Kevin McHattie is one step ahead of Ayr United’s Andy Geggan