Dunfermline 1-1 Inverness CT

Nick Ross's second-half equaliser was enough to give Inverness a deserved point that denied the rock-bottom Pars a first home win of the season.

Dunfermline had gone ahead against the run of play on the stroke of half-time when Joe Cardle finished after a Martin Hardie free-kick struck the bar.

Andy Kirk forced Caley Thistle goalkeeper Ryan Esson into a save as the home side improved after the break.

But Jonny Hayes's cross was forced home by Ross after 73 minutes.

The point puts Dunfermline level with second-bottom Hibernian, who host Celtic on Sunday, but Jim McIntyre's men have played two games more than the Leith side.

Cardle and Paddy Boyle celebrated Dunfermline's opener
Cardle and Paddy Boyle celebrated Dunfermline's opener

Dunfermline started without injured playmaker Mark Kerr, while Paul Burns and Liam Buchanan dropped to the bench, with Cardle, Hardie and Kyle Hutton returning to the starting line-up.

Inverness, who had been unbeaten in five games until reverses at the hands of Celtic in cup and league, made only one change, David Proctor coming in for the suspended Steve Williams.

Terry Butcher's side quickly established the upper hand at East End Park.

Caley Thistle midfielder Greg Tansey, whose three goals this season have all come at East End Park, flashed an effort wide after 12 minutes.

Ross was causing problems by finding space in front of the Pars central defence and contributed the first effort on target after 17 minutes.

However, the midfielder was set up by Claude Gnapka and the shot from an acute angle was held by goalkeeper Chris Smith.

Inverness were by far the better side, with Dunfermline lacking imagination.

However, the home side took the lead from a disputed free-kick.

Hardie, who had been ineffectual after being moved up front to partner Kirk, fired one of his trademark set-piece drives against the crossbar.

And, when David Proctor made a poor clearing header, Kirk set up Cardle to fire into the net.

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Interview - Dunfermline manager Jim McIntyre

That appeared to give Dunfermline more confidence and, shortly after the break, Paddy Boyle just failed to get a scoring touch after Cardle sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal.

Inverness remained dangerous and Jordan McMillan made a fine challenge to deny Shane Sutherland a scoring chance.

Dunfermline ought to have been further ahead after a mistake by Proctor allowed Kirk to advance towards goal.

However, the striker's shot was turned wide by Ryan Esson when he might have been better to find the unmarked Hardie in front of goal.

Just when the Pars appeared to be gaining the upper hand, Inverness grabbed the equaliser that their overall play probably merited.

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Interview - Inverness CT manager Terry Butcher

Hayes' superb ball to the back post found Richie Foran and Ross both unmarked at the back post and it was the latter who provided the finish.

Substitute Buchanan had a great chance to win it for Dunfermline a few minutes from time but fired over the bar from six yards as the Pars were left without a win in 14 games.

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