Foran enjoys final word in County and Caley cracker
Ross County 3 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3
Sunday 02 December 2012
Richie Foran scored in the fifth minute of added time for Inverness to snatch a draw right at the end of a thrilling Scottish Cup tie. The goal was all the more dramatic coming after Ross County had also scored in added time as the lead swung back and forth.
Billy McKay put the visitors ahead after half an hour only for Rocco Quinn to equalise four minutes into the second half. Foran put Caley back in front with 16 minutes remaining but County were level again when Iain Vigurs scored with four minutes left on the clock. Richard Brittain put the home side ahead for the first time in the second minute of added time but Foran's later contribution took the fourth-round tie to a replay a week on Tuesday at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
Inverness's manager, Terry Butcher, said: "We are just delighted to get them back to our place. I'm really happy with that, considering we lost a goal in added time. To be fair to Ross County, they really had a go in the second half. They pinned us back and got the ball forward quickly. They dealt with the scraps and the second balls better than us.
"I said to the players afterwards, 'You never know when you're beaten.' If you have that resilience and toughness in your team, it's going to be a cracking season."
The visitors started well, and a deep cross from David Raven caused concern in the County defence. In County's first attack Marc Fitzpatrick's cross from the left was knocked down by Gary Glen but the move fizzled out. In another sweeping move, Brittain spread the ball out to Mihael Kovacevic, whose pass inside was sliced by Quinn. When the ball came out to the edge of the 18-yard box Stuart Kettlewell skied his effort well over the crossbar.
The home side were coming more into the match, and a Vigurs knockdown was lashed wide by Sam Morrow. But it was Inverness who were controlling play in midfield and County were finding it hard to create clear chances. Brittain tried a long-range effort which flew high and wide.
At the other end, McKay forced a fine save from Mark Brown in the 28th minute, but the breakthrough came two minutes later. Aaron Doran's cross from the right was headed down by Foran and McKay swept a stunning left-foot volley past Brown from 14 yards. Andrew Shinnie almost added a second a minute later when he fired into the side-netting following a corner. In a breakaway move in the 41st minute Quinn picked out Glen on the left and his cross into the box fell to Kettlewell at the far post, but he could only stab the ball out for a goal-kick.
County mounted the first attack of the second half and the ball broke to Vigurs on the edge of the area, but his shot was straight at Antonio Reguero. However, the home side's pressure paid off when they equalised in the 49th minute. Morrow squared the ball to Kovacevic on the right and his cutback was blasted high into the net by Quinn.
Kettlewell went agonisingly close to putting his side ahead with a looping header which just cleared Reguero's right-hand post and County were looking much more up for the fight. But Inverness retook the lead in the 73rd minute when a McKay shot deflected off Foran and into the net. Back came County, with Vigurs firing in a magnificent equaliser from 25 yards.
A Brittain free-kick in injury time evaded everyone on its way into the far corner of the net, but Foran still had time to pop up and scoop the ball into the net from close range following a Graeme Shinnie corner.
County's manager, Derek Adams, said: "It was disappointing to lose a goal in that way. We have to go there now, and they have a good record in Inverness. They are a good side We didn't do so well in the first half but we created more chances and openings in the second half. Over the piece we probably deserved to go through."
Ross County (4-4-2): Brown; Kovacevic, Tokely, Boyd, Fitzpatrick; Brittain, Kettlewell (Fotheringham, 81), Vigurs, Quinn; Morrow (Ross, 79) Glen.
Inverness CT (4-4-1-1) Reguero; Raven, Warren, Meekings, G Shinnie; A Shinnie, Draper, Tudur-Jones, Doran; McKay (Roberts, 90); Foran.
Referee Craig Thomson.
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