Match Report - Hibernian (A)
Hibernian 2-2 Ross County (Youan, Tavares – Delferiere o.g, White) Attendance: 15,300 (178 Away)
Ross County fought back with two second-half strikes at Easter Road to claim a magnificent third point from three away matches – all in one week.
Elie Youan opened the scoring for Hibernian, and just after half-time former Benfica man Jair Tavares doubled their lead leaving some Ross County supporters bereft of hope.
The fightback was soon on when Yan Dhanda’s whipped cross was turned into the net by Hibs player Alan Deferriere.
The Staggies fans have travelled over 1000 miles in the past week and got their just reward when Jordan White rocketed in a magnificent volley to make it 2-2.
Ben Purrington and Kyle Turner were the two changes made by Mackay for this clash, replacing George Harmon and Yan Dhanda. Will Nightingale also returned to the squad.
There wasn’t a lot of difference between the teams in the opening stages, with a drought of goal-mouth action being the overriding theme. However, James Brown had the best chance of the half for the Staggies when he was slipped through by Simon Murray, however, Brown couldn’t find the target as his strike drifted wide.
Adam Le Fondre came closest for Hibs when a long throw-in fell to him on the edge of the box. He struck the ball sweetly however it dragged just inches past Ross Laidlaw’s right-hand post.
Hibernian took the lead just three minutes before the end of the half. Elie Youan picked up the ball on the left-hand side of the box and drove across the 18-yard line. He was held off by Scott Allardice, but he managed to find room to get a shot off – it unfortunately deflected off a Ross County player, diverting the direction of the ball and ending up in the back of the net, leaving Ross Laidlaw stranded.
Things didn’t appear to be changing for the fortunes of the Highlanders, who conceded again just after halftime. Jair Tavares was clean through facing Ross Laidlaw after Ross County lost possession on halfway. He finished with aplomb into the top left corner. That goal should have sealed things up for Hibernian – who hadn’t really been threatened defensively at that point.
However, the tide would soon turn for the Staggies. The away supporters were adamant that they should have had a penalty when Paul Hanlon fluffed his clearance, kicking the ball up onto his own arm. VAR took it to a review however there was no avail for the Staggies – who now had a bee in their bonnet.
Yan Dhanda entered the park – and made an instant impact. He was dropping deep to get on the ball and pick passes. He added that extra bit of dynamism and technique that had been lacking in the previous hour.
The former Swansea man drifted wide and was teed up for the cross. He whipped a delightful ball into the box, and Hibernian keeper Jojo Wollacott flapped at it, allowing it to hit off his own man which sent the ball into the net. There was always fight and intent from the players on the park to get back into the match – and that was even more apparent when Alex Samuel wrested the ball out of Paul Hanlon’s grasp to get us back playing as quickly as possible.
The Staggies drew back on level terms in the 83rd minute through substitute Jordan White. Yan Dhanda dropped deep and dispatched a perfect long-range pass to Simon Murray on the right wing. Murray brought it down, dashing past Stevenson to dink the ball into the path of Jordan White. With his back to goal, the big striker took a perfect touch to set himself up. He swivelled and struck a rocketed volley into the top left corner – sending the County contingent into raptures in the away end.
Malky Mackay’s side successfully defended their goal to see out the match and could have won it late on if it weren’t for a great save from Wollacott in the Hibs goal.
That made it three points from three difficult away matches – and it also hauled the Staggies out of the relegation zone.
It has been a week of long travels with many positives to take, and hopefully, that late comeback can inspire the team going forward.
Teams in full:
Hibernian – Wollacot, Stevenson, Fish, Bushiri, Miller; Levitt, Jeggo, Youane, Tavares; Le Fondre, Vente.
Ross County – Laidlaw, Purrington, Baldwin, Leak, Brown; Allardice, Randall, Loturi, Turner; Murray, Brophy.
Referee: Grant Irvine
Player of the Match: Yan Dhanda.