Aberdeen 0, Motherwell 3

Match Date: Saturday, November 1 2003
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 9,895
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Corrigan, Partridge, Craigan, Hammell, Adams, Leitch, Lasley, Pearson, Clarkson (Dair 47), Craig.
Subs Not Used: Corr, Quinn, Fagan, Wright. 

Motherwell scorers: Craig (10), Pearson (77), Lasley (90).

Yellow Card: Craig.


Aberdeen  0     Motherwell  3

MOTHERWELL'S BIGGEST WIN IN ABERDEEN FOR 45 YEARS Saw the Fir Parkers move to fifth in the table. It was a thoroughly deserved win and mean Motherwell trebled last season's away win total in just five attempts.

The match started at a tremendous pace with the home side first to show. Booth latched onto a loose ball around the edge of the box but found Motherwell custodian Marshall in fine form as he got down to hold. The Fir Parkers immediately moved upfield and went close when Pearson and Adams combined to set up Lasley but his header was clutched by Preece. The home fans thought they had taken the lead when Booth picked up a ball from McNaughton and fired in a shot which hit the side netting from outside the box. A misunderstanding between Hammel and Partridge then almost let in Booth though Partridge recovered at the expense of a corner. A foul on Marshall went unnoticed by Referee Toner and as play continued the ball fell for Heikkinen who blasted the ball over from 15 yards out. Partridge then had to concede another corner though this time Marshall held despite some close attention from Booth. The Motherwell defence was taking a time to settle and Corrigan slipped to allow Heikkinen possession but his long pass was too much for Booth to gather. Motherwell responded positively, Pearson found Craig who was forced wide by Anderson and could only drill the ball wide. A shot from McNaughton then sailed way over Marshall's bar before Motherwell attacked. Adams sent Clarkson clear but a poor decision from the linesman saw him flag wrongly for offside. However, Motherwell made their next attack count in positive style. Adams took a through to find Leitch, and as the Captain tried a chip forward it went beyond Adams but there was Craig who nipped in ahead of McGuire to clip the ball beyond Preece for the opener. The home response saw Hammel have to clear just ahead of Booth who almost made a connection to a header from Zdrilic. 

Stephen Pearson made ground out wide though his pass was nicked away by Anderson or Craig could have had his second. Lasley then did well but to find Adams though his shot was charged down by McGuire. Lasley picked the ball up from Corrigan but the cross was blocked away by the outstretched leg of McGuire. Motherwell were looking positive and Lasley made the by-line only to see McGuire steer the ball into the hands of Preece. Aberdeen responded with Heikkinen and Tosh combining to set up Booth whose turn and shot from 18 yards went narrowly past though Marshall looked to have covered. Two late tackles, firstly by McGuire on Pearson then Deloumeaux being very late on Clarkson both went without a word from Referee Toner. Play continued with McNaughton making the by line and picking out Booth but his looping header went over the bar. Another late tackle, this time by Tosh who took Hammel out after the defender had released the ball, again went without punishment from Referee Toner. A speculative shot from Sheerin then took a deflection off Corrigan to go past though Marshall held the inswinging corner. Good harrying by Clarkson then saw him dispossess Deloumeaux but with no support he was crowded out. A flare-up involving Craig and Deloumeaux had players rushing to become involved but when things had calmed down Referee Toner decided Deloumeaux's retaliatory gestures merited only a warning and although Craig's involvement was minimal to say the least, he was warned too. Motherwell gained a free kick 30 yards out when Lasley was brought down by McGuire. Adams strolled up but could only curl the ball over. A dangerous run by Muirhead then took him to the by line but superb defending from Craigan saw him clear. Muirhead again then found Booth who won a corner. Swung in, Booth jumped unhindered but could only head over. Just on the break Tosh tried an effort from 25 yards though Marshall held. 

Half Time     Aberdeen  0     Motherwell  1

Both teams made half-time changes, the home side replacing Sheerin with Clark whilst Motherwell took off the tired Clarkson, playing his fourth game in a week, and replaced him with Jason Dair. Motherwell should have had an early free kick when Muirhead sent Adams flying near the box but play continued. Craig then found Hammel but his long ball was cut out by Deloumeaux with Craig hovering. Gordon Marshall had been fairly quiet up to now but twice in rapid succession he kept the home strikers at bay. Booth and McGuire combined and he was denied by a brilliant Marshall block at the expense of a corner. Craigan cleared to McNaughton though Marshall held his effort. Then Marshall was called upon again to make another superb save. Booth combined this time with Tosh and the latter went clear on Marshall but was denied by some terrific goalkeeping. Motherwell then broke upfield and a loose ball had Craig pouncing on it and racing towards goal. Deloumeaux recovered and the ball broke to Preece. Teammate Clark then saw a chance in the Motherwell box but his angled drive was well over the top. Motherwell then forced a couple of quick corners. The pressure was relieved when Partridge was adjudged to have raised his feet on Anderson who went down in a heap but made an amazing recovery as soon as the whistle was blown. Seemingly intent on using as little cards as possible Referee Toner then decided a late, high tackle by Zdrilic on Craigan should be ignored. Terrific build-up from Motherwell had Craig supplying Pearson though his angled shot was well held by Preece. The home keeper was in action again when he held a cut back from Pearson after good play between Craig and Dair. Aberdeen themselves forced a corner though Hammel cleared easily. Adams then looked to have sent Craig clear but again there was a late, late flag. Referee Toner then missed a flash point when Tosh appeared to strike out at Leitch. Strong running from Pearson and a fierce shot looked to be ready to test Preece but Anderson blocked and cleared. Still there was no cards despite a rash foul from Anderson on Adams. Aberdeen cleared the free kick and pushed forward themselves, Marshall doing very well indeed to hold a deflected effort from Booth. After Zdrilic had driven a shot from 25 yards well over the bar the home side made another change, Heikkinen replaced by Diamond. 

There was at last a booking but it was for perhaps the softest challenge of the day. Craig clashed with McGuire whose dramatic slump seemed to convince Referee Toner to use a yellow card. McGuire was then robbed by Dair who looked set to bear down on Preece but somehow Toner decided it was illegal. A third home change had Zdrilic replaced by Mackie. Good defending by Craigan cleared ahead of Deloumeaux and Motherwell raced away to double their advantage. Anderson and Dair collided in midfield with the ball running wide to Pearson. He skinned McNaughton before rifling home an unstoppable shot to Preece's far corner. Aberdeen's response was a Deloumeaux shot which deflected to Muirhead but his shot was held by Marshall. After Craig had forced a corner an amazing scramble inside the Motherwell box confirmed how much it was going to be the Fir Parker's day. Slips by Leitch and then Adams gave possession to Aberdeen and allowed them to press. A cross in from Muirhead was blocked by Craigan into the path of Deloumeaux. He saw his shot break off Craigan onto the bar with Craigan able to eventually clear. Leitch then did superbly well to deny Deloumeaux as he looked to be ready to shoot. And with time running out Motherwell made the game secure. Adams fed Pearson out wide and as he cut inside McNaughton his pass teed up Lasley who fired home off the outstretched leg of Muirhead though it looked to be heading in. The final whistle soon followed with the Motherwell fans and players alike in raptures.

Full Time     Aberdeen  0     Motherwell  3

Match Report by Ricky Mullen