Hearts 0, Motherwell 0
|Match Date: Saturday, December 27 2003|
|Competition: Scottish Premier League|
|Motherwell Team (4-4-2):|
Marshall, Quinn, Corrigan, Craigan, Hammell, Lasley, Adams, Leitch (Fagan 86),
Dair, Burns (Pearson 62), Clarkson (Craig 84).
Subs not used: Corr, McDonald.
STALEMATE ENDS LOSING STREAK
Hearts 0 Motherwell 0
HARDLY A CLASSIC, BUT THE BLANK SCORELINE Saw Motherwell end their recent losing run. The first 0-0 for 98 games, it was also Motherwell's fifth match without scoring.
An early long ball from Quinn had Burns and Webster chasing to the by line though the home defender won the race. Kisnorbo then crossed for Stamp but he hit against Craigan and the ball was cleared. Lasley then dispossessed Sloan but was unable to take advantage. Neilson and Hartley then combined but Corrigan nipped in. A late challenge from Sloan caught Quinn but Referee Rowbotham ignored. Marshall then did well to hold a ball from Kirk who'd met the cross from Kisnorbo. The veteran keeper then came to collect a MacFarlane ball which was destined for Stamp in space. Motherwell had a free kick awarded when MacFarlane fouled Adams some 25 yards out. Adams took the effort himself but sent it well wide of the target. Kirk then was allowed progress to the edge of the box as the Motherwell defence backed off and his shot produced a terrific tip round from Marshall. McKenna met the corner but headed over, though another corner was given. This time Corrigan and Dair cleared though a shot from Severin went well wide soon after. Scott Leitch gathered possession and his long ball almost found Lasley before running out of play. A lack of communication between Marshall and Craigan then almost let in McKenna though Craigan recovered the situation to clear for a throw. A Lasley Burns combination was cleared to Adams and he found Clarkson only for Webster to hook away. Hammel and Burns then exchanged passes and looked to have sent Clarkson away only for an off side flag to deny him. Good defending from Martyn Corrigan then prevented McKenna getting in a solid header on a Hartley cross. Kirk won a corner soon after against Adams but a foul by Kisnorbo on Adams ended the danger. Adams picked himself up and found Dair though Stamp swept the ball downfield.
Motherwell attacked with Adams seeing his shot from Clarkson's pass blocked and though Dair recovered possession his cross was cleared. Adams regained the ball but was caught late by McKenna and although a free kick was awarded there was no caution. Gordon did well to race from his goal to deny Clarkson who was furious about the lack of support. Good play from the Fir Parkers pushed Hearts back but the attack broke down with Leitch unable to find Clarkson. Fellow Motherwell man Dair then sent Burns wide but a poor touch allowed Webster to get back and force a corner which McKenna headed out. There was a show of dissent when Stamp threw the ball away in disgust at a throw but there was no card. A loose ball was won by Clarkson and his shot was deflected behind for a corner. More slack play at the back by Hearts almost gave Clarkson another chance but this time Gordon cleared. Good defending from Craigan and Marshall stopped McKenna making the most of a cross inside the box. Stamp then forced a corner upfield which Severin hit off McKenna and the ball drifted past. Hearts came a bit closer when McKenna crossed for Kirk though his header was held by Marshall. An error from Burns then allowed Stamp to make the by line though Marshall held the cut back.
Half Time Hearts 0 Motherwell 0
Hearts made a quick change, Hartley replaced by Valois. A cross from Kirk was cleared by Adams long to Lasley but he was adjudged to have fouled Kisnorbo in the second half's first action. Burns and Clarkson combined well to find Keith Lasley but unlike last season he was unable to keep the ball down and blazed over. Burns then did well to create an opening on the edge of the box but Severin got back to boot the ball away. Slack defending from MacFarlane gave Burns a chance to find Clarkson but it was Gordon who won the race. Valois then twice tried to chip Marshall from distance but both times was woefully short. Clever play from Dair then saw him fire a great ball across the six-yard box but there were no takers for a certain goal. Lasley did regain the ball and his shot deflected to Gordon. His long kick eventually found it's way to Valois and a cross to McKenna had Craigan on hand to clear. Kisnorbo fired the ball back in though Marshall punched the ball away. Burns broke away downfield but a poor ball to Clarkson ended the move somewhat early. There was a flare up involving Burns and Kisnorbo after the latter had clattered into the Motherwell man, though Referee Rowbotham quickly diffused the situation. Good running from Clarkson took him towards the box but with the option of Lasley clear on his inside he was crowded out by Webster who found Gordon. Hearts attacked and won a corner, during which they substituted McKenna for De Vries. The corner came in and a free header from Kisnorbo flashed wide. Motherwell then made a change with Pearson coming on to replace Burns in what could be the midfielder's last appearance in a claret and amber jersey. Great defending from Corrigan then stopped De Vries making contact with a cross which Stamp swept well over. Terrific play between Clarkson and Hughes gave Lasley a chance to cross but the ball was too wide. Hearts responded with Kisnorbo hooking well over.
A Hammel free kick then had Pearson knocking on for Clarkson though Gordon just got in to hold. The Fir Parkers should have had another free kick near the box when Severin brought Dair down but play continued. Motherwell were looking a bit more dangerous but with Clarkson in space Pearson decided to run on and was beaten by a Webster challenge. Clarkson and Severin then clashed with the Hearts man going down after Clarkson had swung an arm though it looked more accidental than intentional, though had Referee Rowbotham noticed it could have seen a red card produced. Good pressure from the Fir Parkers ended when Lasley fired not to far over from 30 yards. Sloan then brought down Pearson and from the free kick Quinn had a header saved. Superb defending from Quinn then denied De Vries who pounced on a loose ball inside the box. From the corner De Vries headed across and out. Dair then won possession and found Adams who's 25-yarder was well held. A Lasley long ball was gathered by Gordon just as Pearson looked set to pounce with the resultant goal kick crossed by Valois to Sloan who flicked over. Hearts then took off Severin in place of Berra. Motherwell were forced to make a double substitution. Firstly, an intentional one with Craig replacing Clarkson, though after Leitch had damaged his shoulder a forced one with Fagan coming on. Motherwell had knocked the ball out with Hearts very unsporting in keeping possession afterwards. Sean Fagan then went wide and found Dair but the cross was too deep. Way into injury time Hammel fouled Sloan 25 yards out but the wall did its job to block Valois effort and clear. Right on the final whistle Stamp tried a shot from 20 yards which Marshall held.
Full Time Hearts 0 Motherwell 0
Match Report by Ricky Mullen