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<-Srce <-Type Sunday Mail ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Euan Mclean auth-> Steve Conroy
[P Mihadjuks 56] ;[D Imrie 88] Roy Adam McBain
21 of 045 David Obua 39 ;David Obua 79 ;Laryea Kingston 89 L SPL H

Caley At War With William The Conqueror

Hearts 3 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2

Jan 25 2009 Euan McLean

RAGING Russell Duncan blasted the linesman at the centre of the second-half flashpoint that turned the tide against 10-man Inverness at the end of a miserable week for the rock-bottom Highlanders.

Assistant ref Willie Conquer copped pelters from the Caley men for his part in two massive decisions that saw Hearts handed a penalty and defenderRoy McBain sent off in a powderkeg closing 25 minutes.

Despite being reduced to 10 men courageous Caley still looked to have snatched the morale-boosting draw they so badly needed after the sacking of boss Craig Brewsterwhen Dougie Imrie scored a stunning equaliser two minutes from time.

But their luck ran out at the death when Hearts went straight back up the park to steal the points.

Supersub Laryea Kingston's dramatic last-gasp strike pushed Hearts back into third place level on points with Dundee United - and kept Inverness rooted at the foot of the SPL.

Duncan seethed: "Imrie is fouled on the touchline but we don't get the decision - then Hearts take the goal kick up the park, get a penalty and we are reduced to 10 men.

"It would have been a different story if we'd got the foul but officials don't seem to want to give us anything.

"I've seen replays of the sending off and the referee's assistant can't wait to give it. Ryan Esson saved the penalty but we're down to 10 men - as if we didn't have enough of an uphill battle.

"You'd need to ask the assistant why Roy was sent off.

"He was the one who made up both decisions - which is unusual because the linesmen don't seem to get involved up at Caley Park when it's for us.

"We were the better team and it's so disappointing we didn't get something to stop the rot.

"But if we keep playing like that we'll be off the bottom soon."

While Inverness feel they got nothing from the officials, ref Steve Conroy was right to deny them an early penalty claim when Imrie went down far too easily under pressure from Robbie Neilson.

A handful of Hearts players were the subject of transfer talk in the past few days.

And Andrew Driver showed the kind of quality that has seen him linked with a glamour move to Dynamo Kiev.

After one of his many dangerous charges down the left, the Englishman slid in a low cross that sparked panic in the Caley box.

GrantMunro got in ahead of ChristianNade only to turn the ball towards his own net.

Esson got down well to save his skipper's skin but the keeper was not so clever when Hearts took the lead in 38 minutes. A Driver cross again caused trouble and Esson just wasn't aggressive enough in an aerial battle with David Obua.

The No.1 protested furiously that he was fouled but looked too easily brushed off by Obua.

The ball dropped inside the six-yard box and although McBain tried desperately to clear he couldn't stop the Hearts man from bundling home.

Hearts were lucky to be ahead after a first half when they'd created few chances.

So it was justice that Caley got back in the game 10 minutes after the re-start. Pavels Mihadjuks rose in space to bullet home a Don Cowie inswinging free-kick with a powerful header that gave keeper Jamie MacDonald no chance.

That leveller set the stage for a stormy second-half battle.

It started with a petulant tantrum from Bruno Aguiar when he was substituted in 63 minutes for Gary Glen.

And the game erupted with that 68th-minute penalty award.

Driver sped into the box and went down under McBain's challenge, sparking furious claims the Jambo had dived.

After a lengthy delay to calm the Inverness players, Michael Stewart saw his spot-kick superbly saved by Esson.

But Caley's joy didn't last as in the aftermath McBain was dealt a straight red for an incident spotted by Conquer.

Hearts scored in 78 minutes, Obua heading home a Driver delivery. But the goal hero gifted a silly free-kick that teed up Imrie to rattle home a stunning leveller from 25 yards.

Within 60 seconds though, Inverness joy turned to despair as Driver again laid it on a plate for Kingston to beat Esson from close range.

STEVE CONROY blundered by whistling to start a minute's silence before tributes had finished to Alfie Conn - and his day didn't get better. Relied on his linesman on the big calls and while television looks set to prove it was not a penalty, McBain's indiscipline earned his red card. Rating: 5/10.

Taken from the Sunday Mail

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