Kris Jack at the Caledonian Stadium
Five star Motherwell ran riot in the Highlands as they racked up an impressive 5-1 away victory over Inverness at the Caledonian Stadium.
Goals from Michael Higdon, Jamie Murphy, Adam Cummins, Henrik Ojamaa and Omar Daley gave Motherwell the three points, while Richie Foran netted for the hosts.
The win sees ‘Well and the Caley Jags trade places in the SPL table, with the visitors rising to fourth after the emphatic victory which could have been even more emphatic given the chances created.
Stuart McCall made only the one change from the side that drew with Dundee last weekend, Simon Ramsden dropping out through injury to be replaced by the returning Shaun Hutchinson. Hutchinson had scored the first leveller for ‘Well at the Tulloch Stadium last season, in the Steelmen’s smash and grab 3-2 victory over Inverness.
Terry Butcher opted for just the win switch as well, Morrison coming in for Roberts, as Inverness looked to keep their brilliant momentum going,as they aimed to keep up with the leading pack at the summit of the SPL.
Former ‘Well man Richie Foran, who is enjoying a great season for the Caley Jags, was the captain for the home side for the lunch time kick off.
Both sides were set up to attack and with most of the opening stages battled in the midfield, it was the visitors who took the lead on eighteen minutes when Michael Higdon bulleted a header past Reguero after Nicky Law had stole in at the edge of the box to stand up a cross from the byline for the Scouser to score his 9th SPL goal of the season.
It got better for the Steelmen three minutes later, when Jamie Murphy was on hand to volley home from 12 yards after great work on the left from Chris Humphrey. The Jamaican got in behind Graeme Shinnie to cross to the back post, but Meekings clearing header fell perfectly for the 23-year old to lash home.
Two minutes later Murphy could have made it three and easy after being played in on the left but his effort from the edge of the box clipped the bar.
Motherwell were in total control; a great flowing move almost brought a goal when Stevie Hammell’s first time cross for Ojamaa eluded the Estonian; Humphrey’s follow up wasw brilliantly blocked out by the legs of Reguero in goal.
Inverness were kept to half chances, with Owain Tudur-Jones hitting a tame free kick right at Randolph, having seen a shot from distance easily saved by the Irish stopper. Down the other end, Nicky Law could have increased the ‘Well lead after a training ground corner routine, but his effort just went over the bar.
Inverness needed a wake up call and with seconds of the restart, they had halved the deficit. David Raven’s left foot ball found Richie Foran in the box and after getting behind Adam Cummins, he slammed the ball beyond Randolph from eight yards.
It was the ideal response from Butcher’s boys, but their joy was short lived, as Motherwell scored a third.
Tom Hateley’s corner was cleared out of the box, with Law finding the right back on the wing once more with a neat header. His ball in to the box eluded all but Adam Cummins at the back post who took a touch before lashing the ball high in to the net.
‘Well were now in the ascendancy, with the tireless Ojamaa and Murphy creating further chances, without finding the net. Aaron Doran looks keen to get his team back in to it, but his day was summed up when a shot from distance was deflected over by his own man.
Motherwell made it 4-1 on 72 minutes when a fast break by Nicky Law saw the midfielder cut the ball back for Ojamaa, who beat Reguero with a first time shot from 12 yards to grab his first goal of the season.
His team mates flocked to celebrate with him in front of the travelling support, as after weeks of creativity, he finally had his first goal in over twenty games.
Doran tried to respond for the hosts with a terrific effort from 20 yards which crashed back off the bar after a stunning Randolph save, but despite a decent spell of pressure, they couldn’t breach the Steelmen rearguard goal for a second time.
Instead, Motherwell capped off a display to remember with a goal that the ICT goalie would want to forget.
Substitute Omar Daley was allowed to turn on the ball 25 yards out before hitting a daisy cutter in the general direction of the goal. As the ball came through a pack of players, it looked an easy take for Reguero, but somehow, the ball nestled in the goal bid him, sending the ‘Well fans back down the A9 happy with a great result and performance.
[tab:As it happened]
Alan Burrows at McDiarmid Park
FT: Inverness 1 – 5 Motherwell. Absolutely emphatic win in the Highlands for The Steelmen! Well worth the points and scoreline.
90mins: Motherwell sub: Carswell on for Murphy
89mins: Omar Daley sends Motherwell home with all three points! A speculative effort from 30 yards which Reguero spills 1-5.
85mins: How many chances?! Law slid in by Murphy, drags his shot just past the far post.
82mins: Motherwell sub: Humphrey off for Daley.
80mins: Murphy in acres of space at the back post…..cross just overhit by Humphrey and the chance is gone.
79mins: Motherwell sub: Ojamaa off for McHugh
77mins: Another counter there! Higdon opts to shoot instead of sliding in Humphrey. The big man’s shot is deflected narrowly past the post.
76mins: Murphy tries his luck from a counter attack. His 20 yard shot is low and straight at Reguero though.
75mins: Good spell of pressure from Caley now. Can feel a goal coming.
73mins: Great strike from Doran! His 25 yard scorcher comes straight back off the bar though.
71mins: It was great play from Law and Murphy, the former squaring to Ojamaa who slots home from 12 yards. 1-4.
Ojammmmaaaaaaaaa has scored. Repeat, Ojamaa has scored!
67mins: Inverness sub: Pepper on for Morrison.
67mins: Sutherland booked for a high kick on Hammell.
65mins: ‘Well still on top but degenerating into a slugfest.
60mins: Inverness sub: Sutherland on for McKay
55mins: Ojamaa with a great chance! 1 on 1, Reguero does enough to deflect his shot past the post!
52mins: It’s the Scouser Adam Cummins who finishes emphatically at the back post from Hateley’s cross. Great finish, 1-3.
49mins: Humphrey wins Motherwell a corner. Front post delivery presents no danger.
47mins: Should have been 3! Murphy beats his man all ends up and crosses goalward. Just needs turned home but it’s not to be!
46mins: GOAL: Caley pull one back through Foran. ICT 1 – 2 Motherwell
46mins: Second 45 now underway.
HT: Half-time here in Inverness. Inverness CT 0 – 2 Motherwell.
44mins: Law almost adding the icing to a superb first half from ‘Well. Blazed just over from 15 yards.
42mins: Just approaching half-time…..getting a bit slack from both sides now.
34mins: Inverness lining up a free-kick from 25 yards………..straight to Randolph from Tudur Jones.
32mins: Murphy is flying here! He gets into the box past his man and aims a shot into the far corner. Well saved by Reguero though.
31mins: Motherwell playing some superb football, it has to be said.
30mins: Oh my. What a goal that would have been. Great passing move eventually crossed in by Hammell. Ojamaa then Humphrey should have netted
22mins: Murphy cuts inside and blasts a shot off the top of the bar. Almost 3 already!
20mins: Humphrey skins his man and crosses it in. Meekings heads straight to Murphy who volleys home from 10 yards. 2-0 ‘Well!
16mins: Law hangs the ball up wonderfully at the back post to find big Higgy who bullets home! 1-0 to ‘Well.
12mins: Great piece of skill by McKay to turn and create space.With no options ahead, he opts to shoot, just wide of the post.
10mins: Bit of a half chance there for The Steelmen. Humphrey found a bit of space out wide and swung it in low. Cleared by ICT.
7mins: First shot of the game goes to Inverness. It was Morrison from 25 yards….didn’t trouble Randolph.
4mins: Hutchinson almost gifts Doran a glorious chance with a slack pass to Cummins. The Scouser just gets there in time to clear.
2mins: Hateley’s corner is aimed towards the back post….no takers though!
1mins: Ojamaa wins ‘Well a corner.
Kick-off: Ojamaa and Lasley kick us off.
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“We’ve been threatening that. Today everything came off,”
“We’ve got good players middle to front and we can cause teams problems. The results of late haven’t been great but the performances have been good, I’ve been saying that all along,” he added.
“To limit Caley to a few efforts – they are top scorers in the league – and come away and score five against the form team is fantastic.
“They are going well, Inverness. They are always a threat. They were 2-0 down at Hibs, 2-0 down at Hearts, they stick at it, but I felt today our forward play was very good and we got the goals at the right times.
“Occasionally you get a blip and they were off their game today and we were on top of ours.
“I felt all game we were a threat. We could have scored more, on the break we had lots of opportunities. We are delighted with the outcome.”
Inverness manager Terry Butcher:
“We never played from the first whistle to the last. We were comprehensively beaten.
“We just never got going today and that was disappointing, especially in front of a television audience.
“It’s one of these games that we’ll have a look at the DVD, although not a long one, then we’ll throw it in the bin and move on from there.”