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.

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.

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.

Lineup, Bookings (0) & Substitutions (5)

Dunfermline

  • 20 Smith
  • 05 Rutkiewicz
  • 06 Keddie
  • 13 Boyle
  • 26 McMillan
  • 04 Mason (Thomson - 80' )
  • 07 Cardle (Burns - 72' )
  • 08 Hardie (Buchanan - 74' )
  • 24 Hutton
  • 10 Kirk
  • 11 Graham

Substitutes

  • 30 Goodfellow
  • 03 McCann
  • 15 Dowie
  • 17 Burns
  • 22 Willis
  • 23 Thomson
  • 19 Buchanan

Inverness CT

  • 01 Esson
  • 14 Proctor
  • 19 Shinnie
  • 22 Gillet
  • 25 Gnakpa (McKay - 62' )
  • 26 Meekings
  • 07 Hayes
  • 08 Tansey
  • 11 Ross
  • 09 Foran
  • 18 Sutherland (Tudur-Jones - 68' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Tuffey
  • 03 Tokely
  • 02 Piermayr
  • 04 Tudur-Jones
  • 17 Morrison
  • 20 Winnall
  • 21 McKay
Ref: Madden
Att: 2,881

Match Stats

Shots

8 9

On target

2 3

Corners

5 6

Fouls

7 12

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +2:43 Full time

Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.

90:00 +2:05

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Paul Burns.

90:00 +0:04

Corner taken right-footed by Greg Tansey from the left by-line, save made by Chris Smith.

89:31

Corner taken by Greg Tansey from the left by-line played to the near post, Patrick Boyle makes a clearance.

88:29

Inswinging corner taken by Johnny Hayes, clearance made by Patrick Boyle.

87:14

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Paul Burns, Close range headed effort by Liam Buchanan clears the crossbar.

83:04

Foul by Josh Meekings on Liam Buchanan, free kick awarded. Kyle Hutton delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, Andy Kirk gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Proctor. Free kick taken by Ryan Esson.

79:37 Substitution

Substitution Ryan Thomson on for Gary Mason.

78:29

The referee blows for offside. Ryan Esson takes the free kick.

77:31

Unfair challenge on David Graham by Richie Foran results in a free kick. Chris Smith takes the free kick.

76:04

Billy McKay has shot on goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

73:15 Substitution

Substitution Martin Hardie goes off and Liam Buchanan comes on.

73:15

Martin Hardie fouled by David Proctor, the ref awards a free kick. Alex Keddie restarts play with the free kick.

72:08

The assist for the goal came from Johnny Hayes.

72:08 Goal scored

Goal! - Nick Ross - Dunf'mline 1 - 1 Inverness Nick Ross finds the net with a goal from close in to the top right corner of the goal. Dunfermline 1-1 Inverness CT.

71:17 Substitution

Substitution Paul Burns joins the action as a substitute, replacing Joe Cardle.

71:17

Andy Kirk handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Chris Smith takes the free kick.

67:50 Substitution

Substitution (Inverness CT) makes a substitution, with Owain Tudur Jones coming on for Shane Sutherland.

65:53

Kenny Gillet concedes a free kick for a foul on Martin Hardie. Kyle Hutton restarts play with the free kick.

65:27

Shane Sutherland has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.

62:37

Kevin Rutkiewicz challenges Nick Ross unfairly and gives away a free kick. Greg Tansey restarts play with the free kick.

61:44 Substitution

Substitution Billy McKay on for Claude Gnakpa.

59:40

Corner taken right-footed by Joe Cardle from the right by-line to the near post, Andy Kirk takes a shot. Save by Ryan Esson. Kevin Rutkiewicz produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.

56:22

Andy Kirk fouled by Kenny Gillet, the ref awards a free kick. Patrick Boyle takes the direct free kick.

53:37

Foul by Shane Sutherland on Jordan McMillan, free kick awarded. Chris Smith takes the direct free kick.

51:50

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Josh Meekings by Joe Cardle. Free kick crossed right-footed by Greg Tansey, clearance made by Kevin Rutkiewicz.

50:13

Corner taken by Joe Cardle, Shane Sutherland makes a clearance.

48:50

The ball is crossed by Joe Cardle, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Patrick Boyle misses to the right of the target.

46:51

Johnny Hayes takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Kyle Hutton.

45:23

Unfair challenge on Alex Keddie by Claude Gnakpa results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Patrick Boyle.

45:01

The referee gets the second half started.

45:00 +0:45 Half time

Half Time The whistle is blown to end the first half.

44:50

The assist for the goal came from Andy Kirk.

44:50 Goal scored

Goal! - Joe Cardle - Dunf'mline 1 - 0 Inverness Joe Cardle gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Dunfermline 1-0 Inverness CT.

43:36

Foul by Kenny Gillet on Joe Cardle, free kick awarded. Martin Hardie produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick,

42:31

Shot from deep inside the area by Gary Mason goes over the bar.

41:01

Martin Hardie has an effort at goal from a long way out that goes wide of the right-hand post.

39:04

Johnny Hayes produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

37:30

Unfair challenge on Greg Tansey by Kyle Hutton results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Greg Tansey. Johnny Hayes takes a shot.

37:04

Andy Kirk is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Josh Meekings takes the indirect free kick.

29:44

Johnny Hayes takes the inswinging corner, Andy Kirk manages to make a clearance.

28:02

Shane Sutherland has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide left of the target.

26:34

Foul by Richie Foran on Kyle Hutton, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Chris Smith.

25:36

Corner taken by Johnny Hayes played to the near post, clearance by Martin Hardie.

20:19

Handball by Claude Gnakpa. Chris Smith takes the direct free kick.

18:30

Claude Gnakpa has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses right.

15:20

Kyle Hutton gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Richie Foran. Direct free kick taken by Kenny Gillet.

14:50

Kenny Gillet fouled by Martin Hardie, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ryan Esson.

13:54

Nick Ross takes a shot. Comfortable save by Chris Smith.

13:17

Andy Kirk is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Ryan Esson.

12:54

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Graham by Greg Tansey. Direct free kick taken by Kyle Hutton.

11:11

Free kick awarded for a foul by Greg Tansey on Martin Hardie. Alex Keddie takes the direct free kick.

8:27

Greg Tansey has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide left of the goal.

7:05

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Joe Cardle.

6:19

Jordan McMillan fouled by Claude Gnakpa, the ref awards a free kick. Kevin Rutkiewicz restarts play with the free kick.

2:17

David Proctor fouled by Andy Kirk, the ref awards a free kick. Ryan Esson takes the free kick.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.

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