St Johnstone 0, Motherwell 3

Match Date: Saturday, January 10 2004
Competition: Scottish Cup 3rd Round
Attendance: 4,090
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Quinn, Corrigan, Craigan, Hammell, Lasley (Fagan 90), Adams (O'Donnell 80), Leitch, Dair, Burns, Clarkson (McDonald 74). 
Subs Not Used: Corr, Kinniburgh..

Motherwell scorers: Clarkson (24, 32), McDonald(89).

Booked: Hammell.


Saint Johnstone  0     Motherwell  3

Motherwell cruised into the fourth round with as comfortable a victory as they could have hoped for against a poor home side. It was a double from man-of-the-moment David Clarkson which set the Fir Parkers on their way with debutant Scott McDonald rounding things off at the end. 

Nelson was called on at the start to cut out a Leitch ball which almost found Lasley only for the home keeper to gather. Paatelainen and Bernard then combined up front though Hammel helped to break things up, the ball going to Dair. With Hammel wide the ball was then crossed to Leitch, laid off for Clarkson, and his low shot went wide of the post. Bernard tried to find MacDonald a minute later though Corrigan swept the ball away. Hammel played a neat one-two with Craigan but Maxell cut the ball out. Maxwell then chopped Adams as he ran forward though the free kick from Adams ran out. Craigan did well as the home side attacked, cutting out Robertson's ball as it ran on to Paatelainen. Referee Toner then angered the Motherwell support when he booked Hammel. Baxter had went in late on Dair, reacted to Hammel, and was allowed to escape unpunished whilst the Motherwell defender saw yellow. The home side then almost took the lead and only great goalkeeping by Marshall kept the score line blank. Bernard crossed in an as the ball came off Craigan a shot from MacDonald was blocked running to Maxwell and his effort was superbly turned away. Motherwell attacked and a chip from Adams only just fell into the hands of Nelson with Burns snapping away. The Fir Parkers pushed up again and a long Craigan ball was headed on by Clarkson to Dair who's 18-yarder was well saved. 

There should have been a yellow card for a reckless challenge by Robertson on Clarkson but there was only the free kick awarded. Adams found Clarkson and his pass to Burns saw the striker weave skilfully past three defenders before firing a shot narrowly past from the edge of the box. However, Motherwell did deservedly take the lead shortly afterwards with a goal of superb skill. Burns long ball was cut out by McLaughlin but fell into the path of Clarkson and with one touch he lofted the ball over Nelson from 22 yards and into the empty net. IT was almost two virtually right away, Lasley onto a Clarkson cut back but the ball was deflected for a corner. Dair then played Hammel wide and his low cross was knocked behind by Maxwell though had the Motherwell strikers took a chance it would have been put away. The home side managed to force a corner soon afterwards and though Adams had to head behind again Robertson headed well over. A neat passing movement involving half the Motherwell team saw the Fir Parkers double their advantage. Dair played the ball from Craigan into Lasley and under pressure he was able to turn it on to Clarkson who swept the ball into the net. Although Saint Johnstone forced a couple of corners they couldn't find a breakthrough. When they did good defensive work stopped their progress, Bernard offside as Paatelainen passed through. Near the break Clarkson was denied back-to-back hat tricks when terrific goalkeeping and desperate defending prevented a third. Burns found Clarkson and his shot was blocked by Nelson with the follow-up volley deflected behind by Baxter. 

Half Time     Saint Johnstone  0     Motherwell  2 

Adams was unfortunate to have a free kick against when he appeared to beat Maxwell fairly just after the break. Quinn headed the free kick away to Burns but Clarkson, upon receipt of the ball, was fouled by Baxter. Home sub Parker, on for Paatelainen, then made the by line and turning Corrigan saw his cross headed away from goals by the stretching McLaughlin. Motherwell resumed on the offensive and Dair combined with Clarkson to set up Burns whose low shot was well blocked by Nelson and hooked away by McQuilken. McDiarmid teammate Baxter was lucky not to see red for a terrible tackle on Clarkson, Referee Toner deciding yellow was enough. Adams took the free kick but sent it over from 30 yards or so out. MacDonald then forced a corner for the home side, which Corrigan dealt with comfortably; whilst at the other end a Hammel effort from well outside the box wasn't so far away as Nelson watched it drift over. Another home change saw McLaughlin replaced by Taylor. Jason Dair pounced on an Adams ball and with a sight of goal was unlucky to see Reilly knock behind for a corner. Robertson broke upfield as the corner was cleared and finding Donnelly must have been disappointed a the poor quality cross. A break upfield from Lasley followed but with a lack of support the promising move petered out. 

A minute later, however, only a lack of height stopped Burns getting on the scoresheet. Playing a one two with Clarkson, Burns made his way into he box and was unlucky to see his header go inches past as he stretched to meet it. Burns picked himself up and found Lasley, a lay off to Clarkson and his shot was not so far away shortly afterwards. With twenty minutes to go Motherwell gave a debut to Australian Scott McDonald, replacing David Clarkson. Dair pushed forward and his cross for Burns was turned away by McQuilken just as he Motherwell man threatened. Nelson then had to look sharp as Lasley slipped a pass into the path of Adams. The midfielder then made way for Phil O'Donnell, whose last Motherwell Scottish Cup appearance was some 10 years ago. Motherwell continued to press and McDonald pounced on a ball outside the box but as he looked to pull the trigger he was crowded out. A rare home attack by Donnelly saw a cross in for Bernard well blocked and cleared by Hammel. Saint Johnstone then won a corner though Bernard headed past the post. Another home corner was cleared by Lasley to Donnelly whose cross was clutched by Marshall. With time running out Motherwell sealed the game with an impressive finish from debutant McDonald. Craigan's long ball was missed by Robertson allowing McDonald to race into the box and drill a terrific finish under Nelson. Lasley then left the field to be replaced by Fagan. Just on the final whistle Burns broke forward but his pass to McDonald was only just cut away by Nelson. 

Full time     Saint Johnstone  0     Motherwell  3

Match Report by Ricky Mullen