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Monday, 16 April, 2001, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Inverness CT 1-0 Ayr United
Paul Sheerin challenges Ayr's James Grady
Paul Sheerin challenges Ayr's James Grady
A late goal from Bobby Mann virtually killed off Ayr's championship hopes as Inverness snatched a 1-0 win.

Caley Thistle would have won with a good deal more ease if it had not been for a string of superb saves from Ayr goalkeeper Craig Nelson.

It means that leaders Livingston need only eight points from their remaining five games to take the title and the step up to the Scottish Premier League.

Ayr went into the game unbeaten since Christmas but knowing that they had to overcome a poor track record against Caley Thistle if they were to take advantage while Livingston were in Scottish Cup action.

Gordon Dalziel's side had been boosted by the return of Gary Teale from suspension and the news that he had signed a new 12-month contract along with Neil Duffy.

Inverness welcomed Richard Hastings and Paul Sheerin back into their line-up.

Against the run of play

And their side were first to mount any attack of substance.

Nelson came to Ayr's rescue when he beat Martin Babidge to a fine through ball from Roy McBain after 18 minutes.

David Bagan holds off Pat McGinlay
David Bagan holds off Pat McGinlay
The home side maintained the pressure and Nelson produced two more excellent saves from Mann and Dennis Wyness soon after.

Ayr nearly snatched the lead against the run of play seven minutes before the break.

James Grady headed inches over from Lee Sharp's cross.

But, after the restart, Nelson surpassed all of his previous efforts when he held a 30-yard effort from Paul Sheerin that was destined for the top corner.

With time running out, Inverness stepped up the pace and they found their reward after a corner from Robson in 81 minutes.

It caused confusion in the home defence as Mann's header took a deflection before going over the line.

Inverness CT: Calder, Mann, McCaffrey, Hastings, Tokely, Sheerin, Robson, Bagan, McBain, Bavidge, Wyness.

Subs: Golabek, Christie, Teasdale, MacDonald, Ridgers.

Ayr: Nelson, Craig McEwan, Campbell, Duffy, Sharp, Teale, Grady, Craig, Scally, Annand, McGinlay.

Subs: Hughes, Lovering, Crilly, Bradford, Dodds.

Referee: M Ritchie.

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13 Apr 01 |  Scot Div 1
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