Hearts 3, Motherwell 2

Match Date: Sunday, May 16 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 11,619.
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Corr, Quinn, Corrigan, Craigan, Hammell , Dair, Lasley, Scott McDonald, Fitzpatrick (Wright 78), Clarkson, Burns (Cowan 86).
Subs not used: Reid, Higgins, Kevin McDonald.

Motherwell scorers: Scott McDonald, Clarkson (45).

Booked: Quinn, Corrigan, Dair.


Hearts  3     Motherwell  2

THE CURTAIN CAME DOWN On a momentous season for Motherwell as they narrowly, and rather unluckily, lost at Tynecastle. On a gorgeous sunny day the Fir Parkers contrived to miss a hatful of chances and lost to the odd goal in five.

Clever defensive work from Corrigan saw him nod back to give Corr and early touch after a Wyness ball came in from wide. Motherwell responded with a one-two involving Burns and Clarkson which saw a shot drift wide. A poor MacFarlane pass was pounced upon by Lasley but he was unable to find Clarkson. Within a minute the early good work done by the visiting defence was undone. Hammell and Corrigan were unable to agree who was to clear the ball allowing Hartley to square for Wyness to tap in. Corr was caught late by McKenna moments later but Referee Brines waved play on. Hartley then gained possession but was quickly dispossessed by McDonald. Only needing to find Clarkson his pass was just too weak. Burns then saw a shot blocked on the edge of the box before Clarkson found McDonald in the clear but a very, very close off side flag denied his progress. Motherwell were determined to get back into things with McDonald racing onto a Lasley pass only for the shot to zip past the far post. The Tynecastle side were given a contentious corner when it appeared Neilson had carried the ball out over the touchline, but as play continued he knocked the ball off Quinn. Wyness rose to head the corner wide. 

Lasley then lost out to Wyness but his effort failed to trouble Corr in goals. A long ball from McKenna caught out the visiting defence. Hartley fed Wyness who saw his shot parried by Corr before Hamil headed over the bar. Mark Fitzpatrick was then the subject of a rather late and meaty challenge from Neilson with a free kick the only award. The home side pushed forward again, with Wyness finding Hammil with a knockdown before shooting well wide. Motherwell rode out the pressure and hit back. Burns cut the ball back for Dair but he was unlucky to see MacFarlane boot the ball away. Hearts broke though Craigan was on hand to clear a cross from Boyack in the direction of the waiting MacFarlane. Not for the first time Neilson caught a Motherwell man late, this time leaving Craigan limping for a spell. A hint of what was to come came when McDonald latched onto a Clarkson pass before supplying Burns. Unfortunately Burns first-touch let him down, but within sixty seconds the Fir Parkers drew level. Clarkson broke up the wing before firing in a fierce low cross. Burns met it and slammed a shot off the post, but there was Scott McDonald to expertly slot the ball home. Neilson again then left Fitzpatrick in pain with a late tackle though again there was no booking. The ball came in but Quinn could only head over. Quinn was then on hand to do well to hook a Neilson cross away from goals. The visitors won a free kick when Hamil brought down Dair out wide. Dai met the ball himself but could only direct the ball wide. Seconds before the break Motherwell were given a corner. Just as the Referee was about to blow his whistle David Clarkson rose to head home and give Motherwell an interval lead.

Half Time     Hearts  1     Motherwell  2

Hearts made a change, taking off Tierney for Kisnorbo. Motherwell began where they had left off and took the game straight to their hosts. Paul Quinn crossed in and as Gordon missed so did Burns. However, the ball came to Burns again and his accurate shot was cleared off the goal line by Kisnorbo. Still the Fir Parkers remained inside the home box with Craigan unlucky to see his 18-yard shot held by Gordon. Great football from Motherwell opened up Hearts again. Clarkson, Burns and Quinn all combined before Dair's cross was partially cleared by Hartley, Clarkson put the ball back in but Gordon conceded a corner or Burns would surely have scored. Fitzpatrick to Clarkson and sending McDonald clear he was hauled back by another late off side flag. Hearts won a corner of their own which was cleared to Boyack. His cross was gathered by Corr. Neilson then put in a cross which Wyness headed wide. A Kisnorbo long ball then had Neilson crossing again though Craigan hooked it away. Further to this, a cross from Neilson was met by McKenna though he fired way over. A one-two involving Kisnorbo and Nielson saw the latter fouled by Fitzpatrick. As the players jostled for position Referee Brines rather unnecessarily booked both Craigan and Kisnorbo. Quinn cleared, and Motherwell then won a corner of their own. Dair whipped a fine ball in but it was cleared by Gordon. There should have been a card for MacFarlane when he sent McDonald sprawling in midfield. 

Paul Quinn then sent a long ball for Burns and his cross very nearly was turned in by Clarkson, Boyack doing the defending. The home response was a cross from Boyack but McKenna headed well wide. Hearts hadn't really looked like levelling, but they did with 22 minutes to go. Hamil slipped the ball through for Hartley and although his shot was superbly parried by Corr with the defence slow to react it was Wyness who scored. A double home change saw MacFarlane and Boyack replaced by Kirk and Jancyzk respectively. The Fir Parkers were denied regaining the lead by a brilliant piece of goalkeeping. An error by Severin was pounced upon by the alert Clarkson and he drove for goal only to see Gordon block. A foul from McKenna gave Motherwell a free kick 30 yards out but McDonald saw his shot cleared. Hearts then took a lead they scarcely deserved on second half play. Burns lost possession and Hearts broke forward. Corr did well to block a Kirk shot for a corner but poor defending allowed McKenna to rise and sent a header off the turf and over everyone into the net. Motherwell then replaced Fitzpatrick with Kenny Wright. After a Wyness shot had sailed over Motherwell forced a corner. Dair saw his effort cleared by Neilson on the six yard box. The unfortunate Burns passed up a superb chance to level when he went clear on a Severin error but drove into the side netting with Clarkson to his left. Burns was then replaced by David Cowan, making a very welcome return from a long injury lay-off to a standing ovation from the away support. More desperate defending kept the home side ahead. Another great Gordon block denied Wright and as the corner came in Corrigan sent a goal-bound header towards the far corner only to see Jancyzk clear off the line. A body-check by Hartley on Wright went without punishment and to make matters worse an innocuous Dair challenge on Hartley earned him a booking. With seconds to go Kisnorbo slipped to let in Wright but his shot was well blocked by Gordon who gathered.

Full time     Hearts  3     Motherwell  2 

Match Report by Ricky Mullen