Motherwell 0, Dundee 3

Match Date: Saturday, August 9 2003
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 6,812
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Corrigan, Craigan, Partridge, Hammell, Craig (McFadden 41), McDonald, Leitch, Pearson, Burns, Clarkson.
Subs not used: Corr, Quinn, Kinniburgh, Wright.

Yellow Cards: McFadden


Motherwell  0     Dundee  3

MOTHERWELL GOT OFF TO THE WORST Possible start in their new league campaign today when they lost heavily to an at best average-looking Dundee side. Beaten all too-often in the middle of the park the home side were slack in defence allowing all three points to drift north. 

Within the first sixty seconds a poor kick from Speroni almost put his own team under pressure but Wilkie rescued him. Dundee then pushed up with Brady beating Hammel to the ball only for Partridge to knock the ball away. Soon afterwards they won a corner following a free kick conceded on Novo. Marshall was commanding and took the corner from near the head of the visiting forward. Speroni wasn't looking too clever and again he skewed a clearance but no one was able to take advantage. Good battling from Craig should have seen Motherwell win a corner as Mackay seemed to have knocked the ball behind but there was no award. The visitors then went close when a chip from Mackay almost found Novo though Corrigan did well to concede the corner then clear the inswinger. Nemsadze then burst through the middle but this time Leitch was on hand to block. Motherwell responded with a long ball from Pearson which appeared to find Craig in the clear but a late offside flag denied him. Then a one-tow between Craig and Clarkson resulted with a shot which went over the bar. Corrigan got in on the act a minute later but his effort also went over. A poor pass from Rae almost cost his side a goal, Leitch pouncing on the loose ball to supply Craig though Speroni plucked the cross from the head of Clarkson. The Fir parkers were looking a little more promising now with Leitch again at the heart of things. He found Hammel and the low ball to Clarkson was knocked behind for a corner. Swung in Craigan got a header in but sent it wide. Clarkson looked then to have forced a corner off Mackay but this was waved away. And within a minute the visitors took a lead they really didn't deserve. A hopeful punt upfield saw Novo chase it towards goal and as Marshall came out he allowed the ball to bounce off his legs giving Rae an easy chance to roll the ball home from 18 yards. 

Motherwell tried to respond, a long chip forward from Partridge headed wide by Clarkson. However slack defending by Motherwell almost gifted a second. Corrigan was just on hand to block Novo who looked set to drive from inside the box. Burns cleared the corner as far as Craigan and he was fouled high by Brady. Persistence form Pearson then saw Smith concede a corner but this was too easily cleared. Again Speroni was poor with a clearance shortly afterwards but Burns failed to find anyone with the low cross. A sandwich involving Wilkie and Nemsadze on Clarkson gave Motherwell a free kick some 30 yards out but McDonald was too deep with the ball. Terrific play a minute later involving Clarkson and Burns nearly created an opening but again Smith was on hand to clear. Brady picked up possession out wide and with Pearson unable to clear Rae should have done better but crossed deep and wide. Motherwell were playing some neat football but failing to find the breakthrough. The Fir Parkers were forced to make a change when Craig went down injured. Play continued despite the Motherwell man being in obvious distress but eventually play did stop after Clarkson had fouled Novo. Hammel then broke forward but his ball to Clarkson saw the shot deflect wide off Mackay. Referee Underhill then decided a late, heavy challenge from Wilkie on Clarkson was not bookable. Motherwell failed to take advantage with the free kick and although they retained possession Leitch's effort was wide. Motherwell the replaced the limping Craig with McFadden who arrived to a huge roar. Before he could have any effect Motherwell were two behind. Lovell beat Hammel to the ball but Craigan conceded the corner. Poor defending allowed Mair to divert the cross into the path of Wilkie who netted despite the efforts of Marshall.

Half Time     Motherwell  0     Dundee  2 

Early possession was conceded to Dundee with Burns losing the ball on the halfway line but he did very well indeed to chase back and regain the ball from the feet of Novo. The visitors gained a free kick near the box when, despite fouling Hammel, Nemsadze got the nod from the Referee. The ball fell for Rae but he ballooned the ball way over. Motherwell had a great chance to get into the match with just four minutes of the half gone when McFadden was tripped inside the box by Hernandez. A penalty was awarded after Hernandez was booked but despite being on the park regular penalty-kick taker McFadden watched helplessly as Burns drove the ball wide of the right-hand post. And it was almost worse seconds later when Novo ran onto Nemsadze's pass only to chip over the top. McFadden then tried to change things by beating a couple of challenges and curling the ball in only for it to drift past. There was a nasty flashpoint when McDonald caught Lovell late in the midfield. Lovell reacted furiously and McFadden jumped in to push the Dundee man away from McDonald. There were bookings for both McFadden and Lovell once Referee Underhill restored order. Motherwell had a legitimate claim for a second penalty turned away when Clarkson chipped a ball off the hand of Wilkie. Then McFadden was sent flying by Nemsadze though once again the Fir Parkers failed to take advantage of the free kick. A rare mis-hit from Corrigan then almost allowed Novo in but a poor pass gave possession back to Motherwell. McFadden broke upfield but he was beaten by a late Mair tackle. Some uncecessary play-acting from Nemsadze as Hammel challenged won the Dundee man a free kick but uncecessary afters from the Georgian should have seen at least a yellow card but he received a mere rap on the wrists from Referee Underhill. Smith then sent McFadden crashing to the ground as the striker looked set to trouble Speroni but again no cards were produced. McDonald once again took the free kick but failed to find anyone. Then Pearson forced a corner and although he got on the end of it his header was well held by Speroni. 

The visiting keeper then did better to hold a low, dangerous cross from Burns. Dundee then made a change, replacing Nemsadze with Carranza. Motherwell almost pulled a goal back when Hammel found McFadden and his shot from inside the box drifted inches past the far post with Speroni beaten. As Motherwell pushed forward gaps appeared at the back and it took a superb Craigan tackle to deny Smith connecting with Novo's pass. There was some humour for the home fans when the fourth official was almost knocked out by a clearance from Pearson though he recovered. However, the laughter was short-lived when again the visitors put the game beyond reach. Novo broke forward and he supplied Smith for a shot beyond Marshall. A minute later only a superb last-ditch tackle from McFadden denied Carranza. Dundee then made a double-change, Rae and Lovell replaced by Caballero and Jablonski. Although Motherwell forced another couple of corners the game was over and the season off to a very poor start.

Full Time     Motherwell  0     Dundee  3

Match Report by Ricky Mullen