Motherwell 0, Rangers 1

Match Date: Sunday, April 4 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 8,967
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Team (4-4-2): Marshall, Quinn, Craigan, Corrigan, Hammell, Craig, Dair, O'Donnell, Fagan, Burns, McDonald (Clarkson 59). Subs not used: Corr, Kevin McDonald, Kinniburgh, Wright

Booked: Dair, O'Donnell, Craig.


Motherwell  0     Rangers  1 

A TOP DISPLAY OF GOALKEEPING BY Klos helped the visitors gain an undeserved win at Fir Park. With a string of superb stops in the first half it took a mis-hit cross-cum-shot from Hughes to steal all three points.

Home custodian Gordon Marshall was slack with an early clearance which fell to Mols. The former Utrecht striker gathered the ball but ballooned it well over the bar from 20 yards out. Good work from Sean Fagan saw a break by Ball ended as the Englishman headed towards the box. A poor attempt at a clearance from Hutton, under pressure from McDonald, then gave Motherwell the first corner of the game, though the Fir Parkers could not take advantage. Venoli then broke forward only to be stopped by a terrific Corrigan interception. Fellow defender Quinn was also alert as he dispossessed Mols. A well-timed pass by Craig then had Burns scurrying to the by line though his cross could only find Klos with McDonald at the back post. Namouchi then took a dive as Craig challenged giving the visitors a free kick. A minute later Thompson clattered on top of Craigan and received a warning. Craig and Rae then clashed with the result a soft free kick for Rangers. Venoli took the kick and sent the ball well over the bar.  Only superb goalkeeping kept Motherwell from opening the scoring. O'Donnell's long ball had McDonald outstripping Moore for pace and as he raced into the box Klos got down low to deflect the ball behind. The corner came to Craigan whose first-time shot also had the visiting keeper down smartly, this time to hold.  Twice in quick succession Motherwell forced corners only for Klos to come to the rescue of his side, though shortly afterwards Klos made a point-blank save to deny Craig as he connected with a cross in. Rangers managed to break upfield with Mols gaining a free kick as Craigan challenged. De Boer took the free kick but could only find the wall for a corner which Hammell cleared. A late tackle from Moore on Craig went unnoticed by Referee Rowbotham and the visitors broke to win a corner, though Marshall confidently claimed. Mols and Quinn then clashed on the touchline with Rowbotham able to calm things down without a card in sight. Moore again was late, this time on O'Donnell, with play once more allowed to continue. 

Great play from Stevie Craig saw him nick the ball off Hutton and race towards the box. He found Burns but the shot was desperately blocked behind by De Boer.  As the corner came in Quinn's goal-bound header was brilliantly tipped over by Klos. Burns headed this one off the back of Hutton but there was no third corner. Good defensive work from Hammell then denied Hutton the chance to connect with Thompson's flick on. Namouchi tried his luck from 25 yards out though Marshall confidently plucked the volley as it came in. Stevie Hammell then did well to dispossess Hutton. Racing towards the box he let fly from 25 yards with the shot not too far over the bar. A blatant foul by Hutton on Craig gave Motherwell a free kick some 35 yards from goal. Rangers cleared and won a free kick of their own when Mols went down under minimal Craigan pressure.  Shortly afterwards Thompson broke upfield but his woeful shot was well wide.  However, just a minute from the break the visitors took the lead against the run of play. Mols found Hughes and his low effort poked through the legs of Dair and beyond Marshall. Seconds before the interval the visitors should have been reduced to 10 men when Hutton chopped Craig down well after the Motherwell man had released the ball, Referee Rowbotham deciding it merited a mere booking.

Half Time     Motherwell  0     Rangers  1 

Obviously sharing the home viewpoint, the Rangers Manager decided to keep Hutton inside at half time, replacing him with Ross. It was a quick second booking for the visitors when Namouchi was carded for a late foul on Hammell. Rangers then gained a free kick when Quinn fouled Venoli though he went down all too easily.  Marshall took the effort from Moore with ease. Venoli decided to hand some of his own out when he was rash with a tackle on Fagan. De Boer cleared but good pressing form Quinn kept the pressure up. Jason Dair then gathered possession and his shot from 25 yards sailed past the far post with Klos struggling to get across. Hughes somehow managed to escape a booking when he was late on McDonald who suffered a second bad foul with Moore in on the act. Moore was booked though Hughes wasn't punished. Phil O'Donnell was then penalised for a foul on Namouchi with the free kick given 25 yards out. Venoli again took the kick and again sent an effort way over. Motherwell made a change on the hour mark, McDonald limping off after receiving rough treatment throughout to be replaced by David Clarkson. There was at last a booking for Hughes when he caught O'Donnell well late though that should have been a second. Stevie Hammell whipped the free kick in though again Klos was on hand to gather. Venoli then lost out to Clarkson but a poor cross in was cleared. There was a clash of bodies a minute or so later when Venoli and Craigan collided. Once play resumed the lack of sportsmanship of Rangers' Thompson was displayed when he contested the bounce ball after Motherwell had put it out of play to allow treatment.  Alert keeping from Marshall kept the visitors out when he managed to palm a close-range header from Mols behind. A break from Motherwell had Clarkson racing towards the box but with Craig and Dair as options he chose to shoot and failed to find the target from 20 yards. 

A visiting change saw Namouchi replaced by Walker. Hardly on the park, Walker instantly fouled Clarkson but then cleared the free kick himself for a corner.  Quinn headed the ball back across where Clarkson challenged Klos. There looked to be little wrong but as the keeper dropped the ball he was rescued by the whistler. A real flash point came shortly afterwards and the visitors were lucky not to be reduced to ten men. Burns and De Boer chased a ball to the by line and as the two met the Dutchman took great exception to Burns' close attentions. He turned and took the Motherwell man by the throat. Normally a straight red, for reasons known only to Referee Rowbotham on this occasion a yellow card was deemed sufficient. Terrific defending from Martyn Corrigan stopped Thompson going in on Marshall soon after. Fagan then won a corner which O'Donnell sent towards goal only for Rae to clear. Jason Dair became the first Motherwell booking and it was somewhat farcical. His challenge on Walker was hardly worthy of a card but Referee Rowbotham indicated it was for persistent fouling, Dair having hardly made a necessary tackle all day. Venoli wasn't booked though when he caught Craig late. Moments later Craig and Ross clashed in the box with Motherwell claiming a penalty. The two became entangled and as they pushed each other both were booked. A Craig flick almost played in Dair though De Boer cleared. Motherwell pushed for an equaliser and forced late corners. O'Donnell was booked for a trip on Venoli. As play ran out O'Donnell saw a shot go wide, the visitors hanging on to gain the win. 

Full Time     Motherwell  0     Rangers  1

Match Report by Ricky Mullen