Aug 17 2012 by Alex Milligan, Kilmarnock Standard
Inverness 1 Kilmarnock 1 Clydesdale Bank premier league
YOU JUST can’t keep skipper Manuel Pascali out of the headlines.
His headed goal in added-on time at the end of the first half earned Killie a point in their first away fixture of the season, and he also cleared off the line to deny the home side a second goal.
Like Killie, Inverness have lost a few players since the end of last season, but Terry Butcher has put together a decent side that will cause a few teams problems at the Highland ground.
Manager Kenny Shiels fielded the same starting XI that had opened the season against Dundee, but he was forced into an early substitution when Gary Harkins went off in the fourth minute with a head knock, being replaced by Danny Racchi.
And the home side capitalised on Killie’s early misfortune by taking the lead on eight minutes.
Cammy Bell did well to block Ross Draper’s shot and divert the ball for a corner, but when the resultant corner was played in, Andrew Shinnie was unmarked at the back post to slam the ball into the Killie net.
That early strike gave the home side a boost, and on 20 minutes Pascali came to his side’s rescue when he cleared an Aaron Doran shot off the line, as Killie battled to come to terms with that early loss.
But, having got over the shock of losing a goal, Killie began to assert themselves, and they were awarded a penalty on 31 minutes after Liam Kelly had been downed in the box by Draper.
Racchi took the kick, but Ryan Esson pulled off a good save to deny Killie the equaliser, and then recovered to deny James Dayton with a follow-up shot.
That was Dayton’s last contribution to the game, having to go off injured on 37 minutes to be replaced by Rory McKenzie.
But Killie got back on level terms in added-on time at the end of the first half when Pascali leapt above the Caley defence to loop in a header from James Fowler’s swinging cross.
And so it wasn’t too bad a situation, starting the second half on level terms, despite losing two players through injury in the opening 45 minutes.
After the break, there was little to choose between the sides with opportunities at both ends, but neither side had the cutting edge to ensure all three points.
Bell was probably the busier of the two goalkeepers, and yet another top-class performance must have Killie fans wondering what he has to do to gain international recognition.
Kelly had an opportunity when he got his head to a Lee Johnson free kick, but he couldn’t steer the ball on target.
On 79 minutes, Caley were reduced to 10 men when Owain Tudor appeared to head-butt Fowler after the Killie midfielder had tackled the Welshman. Referee Brian Colvin had no alternative than to show him the red card.
However, Fowler could consider himself unfortunate to be yellow carded for his part in the incident.
Down to 10 men, the home side powered forward in the dying minutes to try and snatch the winner, and it took a great save from Bell to deny substitute Nick Ross and make sure of a point for Killie.
Inverness CT: Esson, Raven, G Shinnie, Warren, King, Jones, Draper, A Shinnie (Morrison), Doran, Sutherland (Oswell), McKay (Ross). Subs (not used): Mathieson, Meekings, Laing, Polworth.
Kilmarnock: Bell, O’Leary, Nelson, Pascali, Tesselaar, Dayton (McKenzie), Fowler, Kelly, Johnson, Harkins (Racchi), Kennedy (Boulding). Subs (not used): Letheren, McKeown, Pursehouse, Winchester.