Motherwell 5, Dundee 3

Match Date: Wednesday, February 11 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 4,247.
 
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Team: Marshall, Quinn, Corrigan, Craigan, Hammell, Lasley (Scott McDonald 53), Adams, O'Donnell (Bollan 66), Dair, Burns (McDonald 88), Clarkson. 
Subs not used: Corr, Kinniburgh, Wright.

Motherwell scorers: Lasley (15), Dair (18, 72), Clarkson (51), Burns (62).

Booked: None.

FIVE STAR WELL SWEEP DEES AWAY 

Motherwell   5     Dundee  3 

A THRILLING EIGHT-GOAL ENCOUNTER Kept the fans entertained on a cold night at Fir Park, with Motherwell convincing winners against a leaky visiting side. Indeed, to say there could have been more goals is a bit of an understatement as both teams seemed to favour attack at all times. 

Although Motherwell began positively, it was the visitors who were first to seriously threaten when Milne cut inside to fire a shot which wasn't so far away from Marshall's far post. Derek Adams then sent a long ball towards Burns which the striker was only an inch from connecting. As the ball was returned Kneissl deliberately handled the ball and was lucky not to be booked. Moments later a Hernandez block of Hammel's shot fell for Dair but he saw Speroni dive to save. David Clarkson then passed up a great chance to open the scoring when, latching onto a chip from Lasley, found himself with only Speroni to beat from a tight angle but with options available he blazed over the bar. That was to prove somewhat costly as the visitors took the lead shortly afterwards. Fotheringham sent Kneissl to the by-line and his cutback was met by Barrett who swept home unchallenged. A late challenge from Barrett on Lasley gave Motherwell a free kick 40 yards out as they tried to hit back. Burns found Adams, and although his shot was blocked Lasley crossed back in for Dair who headed over. A minute after a contentious offside denied Burns going clear on a Clarkson pass Motherwell deservedly drew level. Dair sent Clarkson scurrying to the by-line and the cutback, although missed by Burns, wasn't by Lasley who swept home at the far post. The visitors almost regained the lead seconds later and it would have been controversial. A blatant handball from Brady was ignored despite Referee Rowbotham being well positioned with Dundee able to break forward. Brady found Novo and his 18-yard shot went narrowly wide. It was Motherwell, however, who swept into the lead in their next attack. Dair's pass deflected off Mackay to Burns and, whipping in a low cross, Dair showed great composure to meet the ball and strike it low beyond Speroni. The visiting keeper looked rattled shortly afterwards as his poor clearance fell to Lasley but the cross in was disappointing. Dundee's response saw Hernandez fire in a dangerous cross though Marshall met it well. 

Each attack carried menace, next Burns did well to cut inside the edge of the box but found Speroni on hand to meet his shot. There were some afters following a Burns challenge on Barrett but despite the man on loan from Portsmouth pushing Burns Referee Rowbotham chose to ignore. Another handball, this time by Brady, gave the Fir Parkers a free kick which was sent forward to Clarkson. His cross almost found O'Donnell, Dundee's keeper on hand to catch. The visitors drew level thanks in no small part to a rather soft free kick. Milne made the most of an Adams challenge and from the 25-yard Brady free kick he found the head of Barrett who nodded beyond Marshall. Good defending from Hutchieson then denied Clarkson who looked set to meet the ball from Burns; this seconds after a late Kneissl challenge had left Hammel rolling in agony. The Motherwell man recovered after treatment. Dundee attacked again and only good pressing from Corrigan prevented Barrett grabbing a first-half hat trick as he headed a Novo cross over. Clever play from Lasley appeared to then send Clarkson clear but again the late, and inaccurate offside flag halted play. Motherwell immediately regained possession with Clarkson breaking to the 18-yard box but seeing his shot held. Lasley then forced a corner and saw his shot then blocked before the offside flag went up again. A good run from Burns took him to the left-hand side of the box and a great low cross was narrowly missed by Clarkson. Dundee then gained a free kick when Burns appeared to beat Fotheringham in the challenge fairly enough but not in the eyes of Rowbotham. However, Paul Quinn expertly saw the ball out. A foul by Mackay then gave Motherwell a chance but Dair fired wide. Hutchieson then saw his error produce a corner for the Fir Parkers. Quinn found Clarkson and although blocked out Craigan did well to turn and cross again but Milne hooked clear. 

Half Time     Motherwell  2     Dundee  2 

Motherwell appealed for a penalty shortly into the second half when Clarkson appeared to be bundled over by Hernandez but there was no whistle. Although cleared Motherwell quickly returned on the attack with Adams finding Burns but his volley rasped over the bar. A foul on Clarkson by Barrett was noticed and from the free kick Quinn clipped the ball across the box where Mair, had he connected, could well have sent it beyond Speroni. Motherwell's early attacking mode soon produced dividends. Lasley pushed forward to find Burns, and although the striker's ball to Adams met with a challenge from Hernandez he did enough to square for Clarkson who rolled the ball into the net from 18 yards out. It could have been four just a minute or so later. Mair was penalised for climbing on Clarkson and the free kick was sent to Burns. Cutting inside he had Clarkson clear to his right but chose to shoot and sent his shot over the bar. Keith Lasley, still suffering from a knock obtained against Queen of the South, was then substituted for Scott McDonald. Only a terrific save from Speroni kept Dundee in it when, after O'Donnell had superbly found Burns, he dived to block the first-time shot. It was made all the more important seconds afterwards when some sloppy defending let the visitors back into things. From a harmless enough looking MacKay throw-in Corrigan allowed the ball to bounce over his foot and there was Novo to take full advantage smacking the ball beyond Marshall at an angle. Buoyed by the goal Dundee pushed upfield again and Brady's chip was knocked behind for a corner by Craigan. Swung in Barrett rose to head over. 

There was a nasty moment soon after when Hernandez, somewhat aggrieved at a throw-in decision going against him, stupidly threw the ball at Clarkson and was rightly booked and perhaps fortunate not to even see red. It got worse for him and his colleagues when Motherwell swept into a lead this time they wouldn't lose. O'Donnell and Craigan combined to find Dair and his terrific cross was well tucked away by the alert Burns, scoring his first league goal of the season. It proved to be O'Donnell's last contribution as he was subbed to make way for Gary Bollan. The visitors decided on a change with Kneissl leaving and Lovell taking his place. A clumsy, late tackle by Hutchieson on McDonald saw him booked as the striker looked set to run clear on the pass from Adams with only the fact there were other defenders in the vicinity stopping it being a red card. Bollan found Dair but he could only head wide of the post. The fifth goal was merely delayed and it was a fine one when it came. Superb play from McDonald saw him find Dair and an accomplished finish left Speroni with no chance. Another visiting change had Smith replacing Barrett, then a third when Robb came on for Milne. The visitors were struggling to hit back in any way, perhaps summed up best when Mackay, in good position, blasted a shot well wide. Motherwell continued to look dangerous and after neat linking between McDonald and Adams, Clarkson found Hammel whose shot sailed inches over. There was a valid penalty claim denied when Quinn, inside the box, was pushed over by Hernandez but again Rowbotham somehow failed to spot. Dundee broke forward with Hutchieson finding Fotheringham and his low effort went past the far post. Back upfield went Motherwell with Speroni again the visiting hero keeping the score down. Clarkson slipped in for McDonald and somehow the keeper blocked at point-blank range. Dair returned the ball but Clarkson headed over. Near the end Lovell appeared to lash out at Bollan but received only a warning. Right on the whistle Lovell tried a 25-yard shot but it went well wide. 

Full time     Motherwell  5     Dundee  3

Match Report by Ricky Mullen

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