Dundee 1 - 1 ICT: Hemmings equaliser rescues Dark Blues

Dundee's Kane Hemmings celebrates his goal. Picture: SNS
Dundee's Kane Hemmings celebrates his goal. Picture: SNS
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This might on the face of it look like a predictable result between two teams sitting side by side in the Premiership table, but that does scant justice to the story of what unfolded at Dens Park today.

Dundee gave the visitors a bit of battering in the second half, yet had to rely on Kane Hemmings turning on the predatory magic just four minutes from time to salvage a point.

Just how Inverness managed to hold out that long was down to some superb goalkeeping by Owain Fon-Williams and the near jinx they seemingly hold over the hosts – it’s now 16 league games since Dundee last got the better of them.

“I think in terms of possession and chances created we could have won that 5-1 on another day,” reflected Dundee manager Paul Hartley. “Some of our play was absolutely brilliant, especially in the second half. What this group of players do is keep fighting and playing right to the end, and they don’t just lump the ball forward, they keep passing it. I’m really happy for them and for Kane to get his 20th goal of the season – it’s a terrific achievement”.

Qualification for Europe is still a realistic possibility for both sides given their league positions and continued participation in the Scottish Cup. So it was perhaps an object lesson in the opening 45 minutes for the home side to observe how Inverness adopted a decidedly continental approach to gain the upper hand.

On the positive side they were patient and constructive in possession, which built a platform for some piercing runs at the heart of the Dundee defence. One of these was sublimely executed as Liam Polworth sent Ross Draper clear and the big midfielder steered it round Scott Bain after just 13 minutes.

Less pleasing on the eye were visitors’ sometimes sly approach to disrupting Dundee’s attempts to build some momentum which saw them pick up a smattering of yellow cards.

Remarkably Fon-Williams also went into referee Andrew Dallas’s book for time-wasting before the interval which provides a measure of how much John Hughes’s men were on a mission to frustrate.

If that was bit naughty on the part of the visitors’ keeper he was to cause far greater angst for the hosts with a series of heroic saves to prevent Dundee restoring parity soon after the break. On a couple of occasions, astounding reactions enabled him to stick out boot to deny Hemmings and Rory Loy.

He also stood firm as Greg Stewart raced through and blasted the ball against his frame when the Dundee striker had acres of the goal to aim at. The normally proficient Stewart was having one of those days as he had contrived also miss a howler right at the beginning of the second half as well.

To their enormous credit the hosts never gave up on the job despite these setbacks. They finally found a way with Hemmings connecting with a corner and seeing his header deflected to carry it past Fon-
Williams for a merited equaliser.

“I can’t argue that Dundee didn’t deserve something from the game”, conceded Hughes aferwards.