Motherwell 3, QoS 2

Match Date: Saturday, February 7 2004
Competition: Scottish Cup 4th Round
Attendance: 8,101
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Team: Marshall, Quinn, Corrigan, Craigan, Hammell, Lasley (Bollan 77), Adams, O'Donnell, Dair, Burns (McDonald 88), Clarkson. Subs not used: Corr, Fagan, Kinniburgh.

Motherwell scorers: Adams, Burns (2)

Booked: None.


Motherwell  3     Queen of the South  2 

MOTHERWELL PROGRESSED TO THE QUARTER FINALS Of the Scottish Cup thanks to a whirlwind first half at Fir Park. The real Motherwell failed to turn up during the second half during which the visitors almost pulled off what looked impossible at the interval, a replay. 

Motherwell signalled their intent within the first minute; Craigan finding Burns and his cross fell just beyond the outstretched Dair. The visitors shot themselves in the foot seconds later by conceding a penalty. Aitken was closed down by Adams and Dair and as the ball broke to Clarkson he was flattened inside the box by Aitken. No doubts about it, and Derek Adams slotted home the penalty after just 80 seconds of action. Dair then forced a corner off McAlpine which Adams crossed just beyond the far post. The first effort from the visitors was a 25-yard shot from Bowey which troubled only the folk in the stand. A quite incredible series of events should have led to a second but somehow the ball failed to cross the line. Quinn sent a long ball to Dair and his low cross caused all sorts of problems in the visiting defence, Clarkson seeing his shot blocked by the desperate attempts of Dodds and Aitken with the ball slamming off the crossbar, bouncing down on the line, and being hooked partially clear, Adams sending the ball over. O'Donnell was then adjudged to have fouled Bowey though Craigan hooked a header from Wood away. Motherwell broke forward but Dair saw his headed effort drift beyond Clarkson. Slack play by Motherwell almost gift-wrapped a leveller for the visitors, Quinn and Marshall delaying enough to allow Wood in but he was unable to take advantage. More poor defensive work, this time from Hammel, had Bagan bursting forward and he fed Payne. His shot, however, failed to cause Marshall any concern. Motherwell pushed upfield but an Adams ball was given off side despite Clarkson beating the trap. Queen of the South almost took advantage of more slack play when Burns turned on the edge of the box to fire a shot past the post. That was to prove costly for the visitors as Motherwell doubled their advantage. Dair won a corner off Aitken and it was Alex Burns who headed home his first goal in competitive football since returning to Fir Park, and his relief was obvious.  

Queen of the South attempted to hit back, from a free kick Corrigan was on hand to head away. There was a booking for Wood who caught Craigan late soon after.  A slip from Dair presented an opportunity to Wood but as Craigan blocked Bagan had an effort sail over. Motherwell immediately responded with Adams shooting wide. The Fir Parkers had a claim for another penalty denied when it looked like clear handball from Paton, blocking O'Donnell's ball inside. The stand side linesman then further endeared himself to the Well fans when he flagged Dair offside when he was well on. Wood then tried his luck for Queen of the South but he was well wide. Motherwell were still looking more dangerous and Burns combined with Corrigan to find Dair but he was wide with the shot. Lasley then gained a corner off Aitken from Burns' lay-off and it was the latter who saw his shot blocked by Bagan and cleared. An error from Martyn Corrigan presented the visitors with a chance. Wood and O'Connor exchanged passes with Wood going wide. With Bowey in the centre he instead chose to drive a cross in which Marshall gathered gratefully. Back upfield Lasley forced a corner off McAlpine which found Dair but his shot went over. Dodds in goal then found himself well outside his goal but Clarkson was unable to take advantage.  However, a minute before the interval Motherwell put the game beyond doubt, or so it seemed. Adams pounced on a break 18 yards out and as his shot was parried by Dodds it fell to Burns and at an acute angle he drove it in off the despairing goalkeeper. 

Half-time     Motherwell  3     Queen of the South  0 

There was a heavy fall of snow during the extended interval and it forced the production of a yellow ball. The game did resume, and the visitors had clearly decided not to go out with a whimper. Bagan had the half's first effort, seeing a shot from 25 yards held by Marshall. Motherwell responded positively, O'Donnell and Lasley supplying Dair. The ball eventually went to Lasley who saw his shot held by Dodds. Burns then sent Clarkson wide and his cross fell just beyond the isolated O'Donnell. The Fir Parkers kept up the pressure with Lasley again firing wide from the pass by Burns. Queen of the South hit back, Paton found Bowey who headed well past the post. Then, from a clearance from Reid, Burns broke forward and found Wood though Corrigan made a superb block.  Motherwell were just inches from making the game beyond the visitors when Burns saw his pass deflected to Lasley with the resultant shot going only juts past the post. Queen of the South made a double change just a minute apart, McMullen replacing McAlpine then Jaconelli on for Wood. A very soft free kick led to the visitors reducing the leeway somewhat against the run of play at that point.  Lasley was adjudged to have fouled McMullen though it looked anything but a foul. Payne crossed in to O'Connor who, without a marker, was able to head unhindered into the goal. It prompted Motherwell to respond and they almost restored the advantage. Hammel's cross was headed towards goal by Reid and O'Connor was just able to turn the ball round the post. However, Motherwell failed to heed the recent goal and almost conceded a second when O'Connor pounced on Hammel's slip to fire just past.  

Not willing to learn, they did allow a second. This time Quinn failed to deal with a pass into the box and this time O'Connor needed no second invitation to further reduce the leeway. They also made a third change, Payne making way for McColligan. Motherwell appeared to have scored a fourth which would have surely made the game safe soon after. Dair won possession on the edge of the box in a challenge with Bowey. The ball broke to O'Donnell and he slotted home though for some reason Referee McCurry declared it a foul. Poor defending again by Motherwell almost cost them dear, Jaconelli shooting over from 14 yards out.  Motherwell made a change to attempt to stem the flow, Bollan replacing Lasley.  Then, with Motherwell struggling to cope, O'Connor chipped over the bar, and McMullen has his cross headed over by Bowey. With ten minutes to go it took an outstanding save from Marshall to prevent an equaliser. O'Connor went down like a ton of bricks in the box and as the ball broke Burns rattled a shot towards the top corner where Marshall palmed it round the post. O'Connor and Bollan then clashed and though Referee and Linesman both deemed it not a foul Jaconelli complained bitterly, for which he was yellow carded. Motherwell had ridden the storm and indeed almost grabbed a fourth. A superb Clarkson pass found Burns inside the box and he was only thwarted from his hat trick by a superb Dodds block. Burns then made way for fellow striker McDonald. Motherwell were angered when McDonald found Clarkson who looked set to race clear until Referee McCurry pulled ply back for a foul by Reid. However, time ran out on the visitors and Motherwell progressed to the Cup Quarter-Finals. 

Full Time     Motherwell  3    Queen of the South  2

Match Report by Ricky Mullen