Motherwell 2, Fulham 2
|Match Date: Saturday, August 2 2003|
|Competition: Pre-season Friendly|
|Motherwell Team (4-4-2):|
Corr, Corrigan, Craigan, Partridge, Hammell, Lasley, Adams,
Craig (McDonald), Pearson, Burns, Clarkson (McFadden).
Subs Not Used:
Yellow Cards: None
FADDY'S THE TOAST OF FIR PARK
Motherwell 2 Fulham 2
DESPITE SCORING TWO GOALS, THE Big hero for the Fir Park fans was not Alex Burns but the returning-from-injury star James McFadden. Faddy made his return with 24 minutes to go and gained the biggest cheer of the day.
Motherwell began positively and a chip forward from Hammel saw Van Der Sar race from goal to deny Burns and clear. Clever play from Keith Lasley then set Pearson away only for Inamoto to cut out the danger. Fulham came forward though as Craigan cleared he was caught late by Saha and a free kick was awarded. Craigan picked himself up to make a superb stop on Saha who looked set to gather Inamoto's chip upfield. It was then the turn of Corrigan to make an important challenge to deny Clark. The Londoners were beginning to pass with menace and were awarded a free kick when Craigan was forced to bring Malbranque down outside the box. Malbranque took the kick himself but hit the wall with Adams making the completed clearance. Although Fulham were making most of the running the Fir Park defending was solid. Corrigan was on hand moments later to deny the combined efforts of Saha and Clark who ran through onto a Marlet chip. However, the visitors did take the lead after the quarter-hour. Soon after Corrigan had denied Malbranque he was unable to stop the same player's cross finding Saha following a corner. Corrigan did then get ahead of Saha soon afterwards though Motherwell were struggling to return the pressure on their more illustrious visitors. An error by Hammel gave Marlet the opportunity to make the by line and force another corner. Motherwell at last broke upfield and after some good play by Adams he set Corrigan out wide but the cross was too near Van Der Sar. The Dutch keeper had to look sharp to stop Clarkson making contact with the ball seconds later and within a couple of minutes Motherwell should perhaps have drawn level. Saha slipped out wide allowing Hammel to race towards the box. Playing in Burns he was denied by the outstretched arm of Van Der Sar. It was Motherwell's turn to apply some pressure with Craig seeing his shot blocked behind. And only a superb tackle from Gome prevented Clarkson testing the visiting goalkeeper. However, it could have been a two-goal advantage to the visitors when a long kick out found Saha whose chip was superbly turned over by Corr in goals. Craigan partially cleared and Legwinski blasted over. Derek Adams played a terrific pass to set up Clarkson a moment later but again Gome denied him. Gome's next challenge was somewhat less well timed and he conceded a free kick on Clarkson. Adams took it and forced a great block by Van Der Sar. A meaty Partridge challenge on Inamoto won possession in midfield with Adams and Hammel combining to find Clarkson but again it was Gome to clear. A minute afterwards Gome for once couldn't contain Clarkson and as the young striker bore down on goal hauled him back to concede a penalty. Alex Burns strode up and confidently slotted the ball home for the equaliser. A series of one-twos almost had Motherwell clear on goal again, Lasley stopped by Inamoto's challenge. Adams then turned to defensive duties as Clark looked to test Corr with a brilliant block. Fulham then forced successive corners and as the second fell to Legwinksi on the corner of the six-yard box he blasted the ball way over the top. And just before the interval another visiting corner fell to Malbronque but his sliced shot went from left to right before being knocked behind off Craigan for a fruitless corner.
Half Time Motherwell 1 Fulham 1
A quickly taken free kick early in the half from Clark almost had the Motherwell defence in trouble until Craigan was there to head away ahead of Saha. Motherwell broke away with Adams finding Lasley. He in turn slipped the ball through to Burns but as the ball ran then to Lasley it was Gome to the rescue for his stretched side. Motherwell thought they had broken the offside trap when Craig and Clarkson played a neat one-two but the far side linesman decided otherwise though it looked legitimate enough. Martyn Corrigan then pushed is way forward to send in a dipping 25-yard shot which Van Der Sar did well to smother. Despite forcing two quick corners Fulham couldn't break through with the Motherwell defence standing solid. And from the second Motherwell broke forward. Pearson and Clarkson combined to bring Burns into play but again a last-ditch tackle from Bonnicel was the saving of his team. Football is a game which can turn within a minute and this was proved near the hour. A very strong header back to his keeper from Dietou had Van Der Sar struggling and he had to tip the ball over the bar. From the corner Malbronque cleared long and although Pearson was under pressure from Marlet the danger was not immediately evident. However, Pearson made a poor contact with the ball and Marlet brushed him aside before slotting under Corr to give his side the advantage. Malbronque then left to be replaced by Boa Morte. Motherwell had a free kick awarded when Rehman sent Craig flying near the box. However Bonnicel cleared the Adams chip in. It then took a well-timed tackle form Hammel to stop Boa Morte bearing down on Corr before the biggest cheer of the day came with 24 minutes to go. Clarkson made way for McFadden who came on to a heroes welcome. That signalled several other changes, Craig went off to be replaced by McDonald whilst the visitors took off Marlet and Saha. Motherwell then forced a corner of their own when Pearson and Lasley combined to crack a cross off Gome. The ball came in and as the shot came in from Partridge it took an important stop from Van Der Sar to stop Motherwell levelling. Some sublime McFadden skill had the home fans in delight soon after. Corrigan found the forward hovering near the box and turning to leave two defenders in his wake he curled a shot from the edge of the box which cleared the far post by inches. There was a nervous moment when Corrigan's header had Corr struggling slightly seconds later. The game was being played in a good-natured manner though a two-footed challenge from Boa Morte on Corrigan was unnecessary but went unpunished. Motherwell were pushing for an equaliser with McFadden finding Craigan's pas but seeing Van Der Sar make a great save. Up at the other end of the field Corrigan had to make an important interception to stop Boa Morte's ball getting through. Motherwell continued on the attack and McFadden forced a corner. Pearson was then fouled outside the box with Adams free kick forcing another good save from Van Der Sar. Fulham then took off Bonnicel, reminded by some Fir Park fans of his failed time at Rangers, and replaced him with Green. There was late free kick for Motherwell when Rehman brought down Burns wide left. Van Der Sar had to make two quick blocks and then concede corner. A short take to McFadden saw the Motherwell man leave Legwinksi flailing close to the touch line. His low cross found Burns just a couple of yards out and he found the roof of the net to draw Motherwell level with just a minute left. There was still time for Boa Morte to make another rash challenge, this time on McFadden, just before the final whistle.
Full Time Motherwell 2 Fulham 2
Match Report by Ricky Mullen