Aberdeen 0, Motherwell 2

Match Date: Sunday, April 18 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 7,246
 
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Corr, Quinn, Craigan, Corrigan, Hammell, Lasley, Adams, O'Donnell, Dair, Burns (Clarkson 81), Craig.
Subs not used: Marshall, Fagan, Kinniburgh, Wright.

Motherwell scorers: Burns (14), Craig (90).

Booked: none.

CLEAN SWEEP FOR CRUISERS

Aberdeen  0     Motherwell  2

MOTHERWELL SWEPT INTO FIFTH PLACE With a comprehensive victory at a sparsely populated Pittodrie. It was the third and final meeting of the season between the sides, and also the third clean sheet victory Motherwell had recorded over their hosts.

An early mistake by Tosh almost handed a chance to Stevie Craigan the first minute, Buckley having to rescue his teammate. Burns latched onto the throw in and supplied O'Donnell who fired a 25-yard shot over the bar. Craig then sent Lasley wide but his cross only found Preece in goals. The home side won a corner when, after dispossessing Adams, Tosh saw his cross deflected behind by Quinn. Dair cleared as far as Tosh but he saw his angled drive comfortably held by Corr. A one-two involving Hinds and Buckley then opened the visiting defence but Corrigan came in to clear. Some lovely football from Motherwell had the home side struggling, and it took a Higgins interception to stop Dair. However, despite looking more likely to score, Motherwell almost went behind. Sheerin fired in a low shot which took a wicked deflection then smacked off the post and away to safety. Motherwell attacked with Craig looking ever lively, though his ball to Burns was nicked away by Buckley. However, a minute later, Motherwell deservedly took the lead. Muirhead saw his slack ball pounced upon by Lasley. Finding Craig, the striker found his fellow front man Burns and turning on the edge of the box he drove a low shot beyond Preece for the opener. Craig was receiving treatment soon after when Buckley caught him late with the youngster lucky to escape a booking. Hammell then raced wide and his cross fell agonisingly beyond Adams. 

The home response was a shot from Muirhead which went past the post with Corr covering. Craig again took a blow when, after some superb football, Lasley, Adams and O'Donnell played their part in carving open the home defence to set him up. As Buckley came in, Craig shot wide of Preece and the post, and took a while to recover. Fine play from Lasley picked out Burns but he wasn't as successful with this shot and didn't find the target. The home side had no answer, and almost fell further behind. Craig burst forward and his angled drive saw Preece pull off a vital block. Recovering the ball, Craig tried to find Adams but the ball fell just inches over his head. Aberdeen did manage to force successive corners, but Motherwell held firm. Indeed, Adams took the ball from Quinn's clearance and sent Burns through the middle but he was denied by a very poor offside decision. More desperate defending kept Motherwell out. Burns flicked through for Craig only to see Muirhead clear. Corrigan was then adjudged to have fouled Hinds but the free kick from Morrison was well wide, though somehow Referee Conroy awarded a corner. Buckley and Quinn challenged with the former knocking the ball out. However, another corner was given, and from this Sheerin hit a shot which struck O'Donnell on the upper arm. However, with the home side screaming for a penalty, the Referee rightly waived play on for what was definitely an accidental contact. Craig broke forward and found Burns but he shot wide. Unable to keep his mouth closed then cost Tosh a card, as he was booked for dissent. Hinds went wide with the ball and found Morrison but there was Corr to gather. It was Hinds last involvement, leaving soon after to be replaced by Prunty. A neat one-two between Craig and O'Donnell saw a deep cross which Preece plucked away from Burns. Morrison conceded a corner a minute or so later, though Craig saw his header go over. Aberdeen themselves gained a corner next but it was Hammell to clear. Another corner was claimed by Corr, with Motherwell responding through an O'Donnell shot which wasn't so far over. The last action of the half saw Motherwell in attacking mode, Lasley latching onto a corner to find Craig but his header was held by Preece.

Half Time     Aberdeen  0     Motherwell  1

Aberdeen had the first opportunity when Hammell fouled Buckley, but a reciprocal foul ended the move. Craigan found Craig with a long pass but the dangerous cross, begging for a touch, found none. Slack midfield play by Motherwell then allowed Rutkiewicz to break upfield but a superb Quinn tackle on Muirhead conceded a corner. Motherwell counter-attacked from the corner. Quinn headed to Corrigan, and his long ball was laid off by Burns to Lasley. Returning the ball, Burns saw the cross deflect off Morrison for a corner kick. Moments later Dair then looked to have set Burns away again but the offside flag came to the home side's rescue. Another Fir Park corner arrived and it took a superb save from Preece to deny Dair with his long shot. Within a minute Motherwell were again taking a corner after Heikkinen had conceded as Craig threatened. Despite being well on top, Motherwell were almost pegged level. From a corner Lasley headed a goal-bound header off the line and away to safety. Normal service soon resumed with Motherwell taking a corner following a block from Buckley on Adams' drive. Preece didn't look particularly clever and he missed the ball but as O'Donnell looked set to pounce Zdrilic hooked it away. Aberdeen couldn't get out of their own half and conceded another corner soon after. This time Preece did come and claim comfortably. A rare break by Tosh took his team out of their own half and into somewhat foreign territory. He found Muirhead and although sending in a fierce shot Barry John Corr produced a textbook save to keep Motherwell ahead. Zdrilic then crossed so wide the ball went out for a throw but Referee Conroy pointed for a goal kick. 

Motherwell passed up a superb chance to put the game out of the reach of the home side. Dair and Burns combined to tear open the home defence and the latter rounded Preece but going off-balance could only shoot into the side netting. Aberdeen made a change, Zdrilic replaced by Foster. It made little difference; Motherwell continued to open up the home rearguard. Burns again went clear on Preece following a brilliant piece of play from O'Donnell, but this time the keeper did well to block the shot. The ball was cleared as far as Lasley who drove over. Hammell then looked to have won the ball from Prunty but a free kick was awarded, though Corr took it well. Sheerin picked up possession soon after, found Tosh, but his shot on the angle troubled no one. It was a rare home spell in the visitors half with Quinn conceding a corner, though again Corr dealt with it. Quick thinking from Phil O'Donnell almost made it two. A poor clearance from Preece fell straight to the midfielder some 25 yards out and first timing a shot he was unlucky to see the Keeper recover on the line. Burns had been hit late by Tosh but play continued and the striker was able to continue. Motherwell raced away again with Hammell taking the ball to the edge of the box but could only find Preece. Burns then lost possession to Muirhead though Craigan did well to regain the ball. Alex Burns was looking sharp and he found Craig on the right. Sprinting towards the box he unleashed a shot which beat Preece but also the far post by an inch. Although well out of things, Aberdeen then forced Corr into a good stop. Sheerin fired in from 25 yards and as the Motherwell keeper parried Craigan completed the clearance. Hammell took the ball all the way up the park to win another corner. Preece gathered, and as soon as the ball was out Burns left to a rousing reception from the travelling support, Clarkson taking his place. Jason Dair got in on the act, testing Preece with a 25 yard shot. Aberdeen forced successive corners with Hamel doing well to block Tosh's effort. Motherwell, always dangerous on the break, almost made the home side pay. Dair broke away to find Lasley but he saw a cross nicked behind by Foster. Teammate Morrison then soon conceded another, with Quinn seeing his header held. Play continued towards the home box and in the final minute Motherwell finally wrapped the game up. Brilliant play from Adams sent Craig clear on Preece and he drove the ball under the goalkeeper to put a fairer reflection on the scoreline. 

Full Time     Aberdeen  0     Motherwell  2

Match Report by Ricky Mullen

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