Motherwell 1, Aberdeen 0

Match Date: Tuesday, February 24 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 5,220
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Quinn, Corrigan, Craigan, Hammell, Lasley, Burns, Fagan (Wright 82), Dair (Kevin McDonald 10), Scott McDonald (Craig 73), Clarkson. 
Subs not used: Corr, Kinniburgh.

Motherwell scorer: Wright (84).

Booked: None.


Motherwell 1 Aberdeen 0

SUPER SUB KENNY WRIGHT, On the park a mere two minutes, provided the goal which secured all three points for Motherwell with time rapidly running out. In a game reminiscent of the narrow win over Kilmarnock at the weekend the Fir Parkers at last sealed the points and a four-point gap to Livingston.

However, it was the visitors who almost took a rapid-fire lead within seconds of the start. Gordon Marshall made a great save from a Zdrilic shot after the Australian had latched onto a header from Booth. Following a Sheerin foul on Scott McDonald, Clarkson head-flicked on in the direction of his strike partner though Anderson was there to clear. McDonald did then get on the end of a Lasley pass but saw his angled effort hooked away by McGuire. Another chance fell to the visitors but they failed to take advantage. Booth laid the ball off to Sheerin and his drilled low shot skimmed along the six-yard box before racing out for a throw-in to Motherwell. Three minutes later Motherwell were forced to make an early change when Jason Dair went down injured after an innocuous looking challenge. Substituted, He left the field to be replaced by Kevin McDonald. Good chasing by Burns then won the Fir Parkers a corner and although cleared to Fagan his chip back in was snatched away by the outstretched arms of Preece. Important defending from McGuire then denied Clarkson, as he looked set to pounce, with a retaliatory effort from Booth drifting well past. Anderson then unnecessarily put his team under pressure by slicing a clearance behind and although Clarkson snuck in a header Preece held. 

A cross from Zdrilic then had to be punched out of relative danger by Marshall who was on hand to clutch the return from Heikkinen. Superb skills on the right then saw Keith Lasley win another corner which was swept away by Clark. Seconds later Aberdeen were defending another though this time Preece held a chip from Lasley. Motherwell were upping the pressure and from a third corner in as many minutes Fagan volleyed towards goal but found the body of Anderson in the road. Scott McDonald then took things forward but couldn't match his run and skewed the ball wide. Referee Murray enraged the Fir Park support when he awarded a free kick to the visitors after Hammel had quite fairly dispossessed Zdrilic. The free kick was cleared by Burns with Clarkson playing McDonald away only for the interception by Clark, which decidedly looked a completely unfair body-check, ending the move. There was a nasty moment when Hinds kicked out at Corrigan who took a short while to recover, this unnoticed by the Referee. Terrific defending from Keith Lasley then denied Booth getting onto a Hinds deflection after Marshall had blocked. Aberdeen then almost took full advantage of a blunder by the linesman when he failed to spot Zdrilic offside. Running onto a pass from McGuire it took superb Craigan defending to end the danger. A rather soft free kick then came the visitors way when Zdrilic appeared to fall over the leg of Fagan. Making a rapid recovery Zdrilic then headed well over. Motherwell attacked with Scott McDonald running forcefully towards the area. Exchanging passes with Clarkson it took a crucial Preece interception to end the move. Hinds was lucky to escape any action when he hauled Fagan to the ground shortly afterwards. As the break approached both Burns and then Hammel tried 25-yard shots but were wide of the mark.

Half Time     Motherwell  0     Aberdeen  0

A run from Alex Burns began the half on a positive note for Motherwell. However, making it to the edge of the box Burns lost control with option s available. Intelligent play by Keith Lasley then ended a dangerous looking away move with Hinds looking to find Booth. It was Marshall who was called upon to look sharp a minute later though he held the effort from Booth, latching on to a deflected Heikkinen ball, low down. A foul on Clarkson by McGuire then gave Motherwell a free kick just 25 yards out. Cleared, Quinn headed the ball back in and as McDonald headed towards goal the offside flag appeared to go up somewhat prematurely. Motherwell passed up a great chance to take the lead when Burns, racing onto a pass from Lasley, went clear on Preece but could only shoot straight at the keeper with Clarkson clear to his right. The Fir parkers were looking dangerous and a deep cross from Scott McDonald was met by the head of Clarkson though fortunately for the visitors he could only direct it off-target. A visiting change saw Booth leave for Muirhead, though the departing striker was far from pleased at his substitution, hurling his jacket down in disgust. Muirhead almost had an instant impact, his run to the edge of the box forcing a great parry from Marshall though the offside flag had gone up. Scott McDonald then raced towards the opposite box only for Anderson to nick the ball away. He in turn set Hinds away but a great tackle from Craigan stopped his progress towards the goal. A second visiting change came with Sheerin replaced by Tosh. 

Aberdeen snuck in a chance with Hinds knocking down for Heikkinen but he chipped way over the cross bar. Both teams then made changes, a third visiting change had Hinds replaced by Prunty, with Motherwell's second alteration seeing the very weary looking Scott McDonald replaced by Stevie Craig. Prunty had an early opportunity but he drove way past running onto Zdrilic's pass. Motherwell had a shout for a penalty ignored when McGuire looked to have taken Craig out. As the move continued, Hammel ran onto the cutback from Clarkson but drove wide. A third home change proved to be a masterstroke from Boss Terry Butcher, with Kenny Wright replacing Sean Fagan. Barely on the park two minutes and Wright was the Hero. Brilliant individual play from Craig saw him skip into the box and set up Wright who made no mistake drilling the ball home from near the edge of the box. Diamond of Aberdeen became the game's only booking but he can count himself extremely fortunate it wasn't as straight red. Clearly taking a dislike to a free kick given in favour of Motherwell he booted the ball towards the crowd. Not content with only finding the perimeter wall, he kicked it again striking a Motherwell fan in the face. Aberdeen did try to strike back, a shot from Morrison going well wide. Craig then did well to deny Prunty after he picked up a loose ball and in the final minute a deflected effort from Heikkinen was comfortably dealt with by the alert Marshall.

Full Time     Motherwell  1     Aberdeen  0

Match Report by Ricky Mullen