Motherwell 2, Kilmarnock 1

Match Date: Saturday, August 23 2003
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 5,083
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Quinn, Corrigan, Partridge, Hammell, Lasley, Adams, Leitch, Pearson, Burns (Craig 80), McFadden (Clarkson 73). 
Subs not used: Corr, Kinniburgh, McDonald

Motherwell scorers: McFadden (66 pen), Pearson (89).

Yellow Card: Leitch.


Motherwell  2     Kilmarnock  1 

A LATE,LATE GOAL FROM STEPHEN PEARSON Gave Motherwell a deserved opening victory to kick start their season into life. Motherwell dominated the match but it looked like more points lost until Pearson nodded home late on. 

The Fir Parkers began positively with Hammell seeing his cross nicked off Burns by Dindeleux for Meldrum to clear. And a minute later Burns was again denied as Dindeleux intercepted Pearson's' ball inside. Pearson then conceded a foul as he caught Hardie but was on hand to clear the danger. Then the midfielder pounced on a loose ball to set Lasley wide but there were no takers for his cross. Kilmarnock hadn't been seen but almost burst in when Fulton ran to the edge of the box only for Partridge to tackle superbly. The Fir Parkers should have had a corner when McLaughlin blocked a cross from Hamel but a goal kick was given. Soon after McDonald and Leitch clashed in midfield and the free kick went the visitors way. McLaughlin saw his effort deflected on for McSwegan but Marshall held the flick. Burns and Pearson the exchanged a neat one-two only for McLaughlin to nick in. Motherwell continued to push forward and Hay conceded the corner. McDonald put that one behind before Adams set Lasley for the cross which Partridge headed wide of the target. The visiting response was a McSwegan cross which McDonald headed across the 6-yard-line and beyond the far post. Returning for his first start was James McFadden and he left Dindeleux flailing to set up Lasley but his shot was charged down and hooked away. The games' first booking rather unfortunately went to Scott Leitch. He tackled Fulton who went flying after Leitch won the ball, his fall convincing Referee Fyfe to award a free kick and book Leitch for his first tackle. Hardie strode up and curled the free kick well past.  

A long ball from Partridge then found Lasley. IN turn he fed Quinn whose cross had Pearson at full stretch but he couldn't turn the ball towards goal.  Motherwell then came close when, following a Fowler foul on McFadden, Hammel found Quinn but he got under the header and sent it over the bar. And they came closer still when Lasley took a pass from Pearson and saw his low shot bounce onto the crossbar and go clear. Pearson gathered possession and was fouled by Fulton. However, Referee Fyfe somehow decided there was neither booking nor a free kick. The Fir parkers kept the pressure up with McSwegan and then Dindeleux forced into desperate clearances. Going forward Kilmarnock were fairly ineffective but after winning a free kick Marshall had to race off his line to gather ahead of McSwegan. Motherwell immediately retaliated and a Leitch/Lasley exchange set up Burns and his angled drive went narrowly over the bar. Referee Fyfe was never going to be a favourite at Fir Park following a horrendous performance in a previous Fir Park visit and he enhanced his reputation when he awarded a hand ball against Stevie Hammel when he'd dispossessed Fowler with the ball nowhere near the Fir Parkers arms. Di Giacomo played the ball in but a foul by Boyd on Partridge ended the attack. Pearson was then caught late by Hardie but he escaped a booking. Pearson picked himself up and sent a terrific ball wide to Quinn. Finding Lasley his cross was headed behind by McLaughlin as Adams hovered. Motherwell kept up the pressure with Lasley firing a shot inches past. McFadden then forced a corner which he in turn curled the clearance not far past the post. Kilmarnock then had a short period on the offensive though Motherwell stood firm. A chip from Hardie then found Boyd but Marshall was on hand to save easily. Hardie was then guilty of fouling McFadden. A quickly taken free kick sent Burns clear but the far side linesman wrongly flagged for offside. Dindeleux was next to foul, clattering into Lasley and from the free kick Pearson saw his cross deflected behind by McLaughlin but there was no corner awarded. Kilmarnock got a free kick when Corrigan fouled Boyd though Partridge cleared. Play swung upfield and another Hardie foul had McFadden flat on his back. The visitors had to make a change when Hardie left to be replaced by Mahood. The half finished with a late McSwegan foul on Adams though there was only a free kick. 

Half Time     Motherwell  0     Kilmarnock  0 

A second change for Kilmarnock saw Nish replace Di Giacomo. Nish was immediately involved when his shot went past but Referee Fyfe saw a deflection which no one else seemed to notice. However, Gordon Marshall was on hand to gather the corner when it came in. Motherwell responded when Partridge and Hammel combined to set up Adams but his cross was gathered by Meldrum just ahead of Burns. After conceding a foul Corrigan was quickly in to deny Boyd with a superb stop. A quickly taken ball from Partridge was collected by Adams but his shot was smothered by Meldrum with Burns clear at the back post. Kilmarnock's McLaughlin was booked when he caught Adams late 30 yards out and from the free kick McFadden sent the ball over. An error from Partridge then almost let in Nish but he recovered in time to stop more danger. Next to be booked was Fulton for a nasty challenge on Lasley. And moments later Motherwell had a corner when Hay, under severe pressure from Adams, slipped the ball behind. Fulton cleared to Hammel but the return bounced right across the box with nobody on hand to knock the ball in. A third visiting change came when McDonald was replaced by Murray. His immediate involvement was a cross for McSwegan who angled a drive well over the crossbar. Another poor offside decision by the linesman had the Fir Park fans in anger when Hammel looked to have sent McFadden well clear.  Motherwell were pushing for the opener and came near when a terrific McFadden run and shot had Meldrum parrying the ball although he recovered to gather just ahead of Adams. Kilmarnock responded when Murray broke forward to set up Nish though a terrific block from Corrigan denied him. However, the opening goal was merely delayed and it came at the other end. Lasley saw his shot charged down into the path of McFadden and his follow-up was net bound until the illegal intervention of Fowler. His deliberate handball earned Motherwell a penalty and the Kilmarnock man a straight red card. McFadden settled the ball on the spot before driving beyond the despairing Meldrum to give Motherwell the lead.  Within two minutes the visiting fans were up celebrating what they thought was a goal when Nish fired the ball into the side netting but they soon sat back in their seats. McFadden thought he had won a corner a minute later when he knocked a cross off Murray but the linesman didn't agree. A third quite awful offside against Motherwell then followed when Burns, well on side when the ball was played by Pearson but the linesman, clearly guessing, got it well wrong.  There was a first home change when McFadden went off to a well-earned cheer with Clarkson coming on. McFadden had given Motherwell the lead but he could only watch helpless as the visitors stole an equaliser. From a free kick awarded when Corrigan and Murray clashed, Dindeleux rose unchallenged to head home.  

Motherwell tried to regain the lead but Hammel's 30-yarder went over. Murray had been booked on a previous visit to Fir Park for a dive but despite repeating his shameful act this time he didn't see yellow. The impressive Pearson then burst down the wing and fired in an angled shot which crept wide of the far post with Meldrum helpless. Motherwell then took Burns off to replace him with Stevie Craig. If anyone was looking likely to win it was Motherwell as they continued to attack. Quinn was having a terrific match and his run to the edge of the box set up Clarkson but the shot was blocked behind by Meldrum. Hammel and Craig then exchanged passes but Dindeleux knocked the ball away. Corrigan got in on the act when he raced upfield but a pass inside had Craig offside with Clarkson on and wide right. Motherwell had a second valid penalty claim denied when Clarkson was barged over inside the box by Dindeleux. Kilmarnock won a corner when Murray hit a cross off Quinn but there was some shocking time wasting by Fulton as he waddled over to the corner flag. Cleared by Corrigan, the move ended with a wild shot by McSwegan going way over. Although Kilmarnock had another corner a minute later, Partridge cleared and Motherwell resumed the attack. Pearson saw his run checked by McSwegan sending the ball behind for a corner and it was man-of-the-match Stephen Pearson who had the last laugh.  Rising unchallenged he nodded a superb header beyond Meldrum and into the roof of the net to give Motherwell the three points. Dindeleux then saw yellow with a hack at Craig and although Hay did likewise he escaped. After four minutes of time added on the whistle went and Motherwell claimed their first win of the season. 

Full Time     Motherwell  2     Kilmarnock  1

Match Report by Ricky Mullen