Kilmarnock 2, Motherwell 0
|Match Date: Saturday, November 29 2003|
|Competition: Scottish Premier League|
|Motherwell Team (4-4-2):|
Marshall, Corrigan, Hammell (Quinn 63), Partridge, Craigan, Pearson (Dair 63),
Adams, Leitch (Burns 73), Lasley, Craig, Clarkson.
Subs not used: Corr, Fagan.
WELL UNBEATEN RUN KILLIED
Kilmarnock 2 Motherwell 0
A GOAL IN EACH HALF SAW MOTHERWELL Slump to their first league defeat since September though they retained their fourth place. Amidst a swirling wind and pouring rain it was the home side that adapted better, though it has to be said Referee McCurry had a game visiting fans would want to forget.
The game began quietly enough with Motherwell the brighter. Leitch's long ball had Hay stretching to deny Clarkson. Lasley then took the ball from Adams and his deep cross was again cut out by Shields as Clarkson hovered. Motherwell conceded a corner when Murray's cross to Nish had Leitch skewing Partridge's half-clearance behind. The Fir Parkers cleared their lines with Leitch taking the ball towards the home box before Shields saw the ball back to Dubordeau. They should have done better though in the next attack. Clarkson met the ball from Partridge to find Adams but his first-time shot went wide from 18 yards with Craig clear to his right. Murray gathered possession down the stand side for Kilmarnock and saw his cross met by Canero though he had fouled Partridge in the act. Fine build-up play involving Adams, Lasley and Leitch opened up the home defence only for the latter's ball to be just too strong for Clarkson to gather. Lasley did better with the next through ball for Craig but Shields came across to knock the ball behind for a corner. The home side broke out with Murray connecting with a McDonald pass. Although Partridge managed to partially clear Canero re-gained possession and cutting inside Hammell sent the ball low beyond Marshall to open the scoring. Canero should have had his name taken again a minute later when he was way over the top on a tackle involving Hammell but Referee McCurry chose to ignore. Similarly, Craigan was the recipient of a terrible tackle from Nish who again escaped a card. And a third late, late challenge, this time from Dindeleux on Clarkson, met with a similar fate.
A foul by Hammell on Shields was spotted though the free kick easily dealt with by Partridge. Canero was wild with his next effort at goals as well, shooting over from the angle. A chip from Craig was almost gathered by Clarkson who was only denied by a finely timed tackle from Hay, the ball running through to Dubordeau. The Referee then stopped play for Craigan who had to go off with a shin injury from that tackle by Nish. The sides should have been evened up a minute later when Clarkson, racing clear on a Craig pass, was cynically brought down by last-man Canero. However, Referee McCurry decided to award only a free kick. Adams curled the ball towards goal only for former Motherwell keeper Dubordeau to parry the ball which was cleared. Hammell swept the ball back in but it was held. Another high, high tackle, this time from Shields, was once more ignored as Clarkson writhed in agony. Motherwell were angered a moment later when Leitch appeared to play a superb ball through to Clarkson who clearly beat the offside trap only for the flag to be raised. A quite ridiculous dive from Canero won his side a free kick as he went down some time after Pearson's challenge. Terrific defending from Stevie Craig denied Boyd connecting with the header from Canero. Motherwell pushed forward and Craig found Pearson though Shields tackled well. After Nish had fired wide Stevie Craigan returned to the park following his spell on the treatment table. Nish at last became the first home player booked for a high scythe on Hammell. The young Motherwell defender picked himself up and playing a neat one two with Pearson had the cross cleared by Greer as Craig threatened. Craig himself then stepped into deny Nish at the other end when Murray crossed in deep and only Craig's work saw Boyd drive wide. Motherwell forced three successive corners but the home defence held solidly. And they should have doubled their lead when Nish went clear on Marshall only to chip beyond the far post. Marshall then dealt easily with a header from Canero. Right on half-time Lasley forced a corner which Partridge, with a free header, could only direct wide.
Half Time Kilmarnock 1 Motherwell 0
It was the home side who came out the quickest at the start of the second half. Partridge saw his partial clearance fall for Nish but he shot high and over. Murray then saw his cross cleared to and although he gathered again his cross struck Boyd and went behind. A quite blatant foul by Shields on Pearson went without punishment angering the Motherwell man so much he was booked for his protests, especially given the free kick which was given a moment or so later when Partridge and Canero clashed. Given the tackles which had been let off before a word of warning surely should have been sufficient. The Motherwell fans and players were once more dealt a blow when Corrigan sent a perfectly-timed pass to send Craig clear only for another poor decision from the linesman deny the visitors. This time Referee McCurry decided a word of advices was in order. Another trio of successive corners came for Motherwell as they tried to get back on level terms. From the second Dubordeau punched clear form virtually under his own cross bar with Canero hooking clear. A deliberate trip by Canero on Hammell brought only a free kick which was cleared. As Motherwell tried to organise Fulton deliberately kicked the ball away as Kilmarnock continued their time-wasting tactics employed for some time now. There was no card here either. Stevie Craigan got up to head towards goal but it was wide. Just when it seemed Motherwell would get back into things a defensive error cost them dear. An unfortunate slip from Stevie Hammell saw him present the ball to Boyd and he made no mistake tucking the ball under former team-mate Marshall. Motherwell almost pulled one back right away when Craig forced Dubordeau to tip the ball round the post. Pearson was then brought down by Canero though Adams free kick was hooked away by Greer.
Motherwell then made a double-change, Hammell and Pearson replaced by Jason Dair and Paul Quinn. As the players were adjusting to the change Kilmarnock almost made it three when Fulton's cross was skewed behind by Boyd. Jason Dair then slipped allowing Hay to race away but he chipped wide. There was a flashpoint when Shields clearly slammed an arm into the face of Clarkson down by the corner flag but unsurprisingly Referee McCurry waved play on. Good chasing from Lasley then forced a corner out of Greer which Quinn met. His header went across the 6 yard box but there was no connecting Motherwell boot. Soon after Captain Scott Leitch, who had done well to recover from a dislocated shoulder just four days previously, made way for Alex Burns. The ever-alert Referee McCurry then missed more time wasting when Murray booted the ball away at a Motherwell free kick. The home side made a change, Boyd making way for Hardie. A shocking tackle from Dindeleux should have seen a straight red but McCurry angered all at the Motherwell end by producing just a yellow. After Nish had chipped the ball wide, the left to be replaced by McSwegan. Motherwell had a well-placed free kick after a handball decision against Canero but wasted the opportunity. And after winning a corner, Partridge should have reduced the deficit when he headed wide under no pressure. A final home change had Fulton trundle off with Fowler replacing him. The final action saw Quinn slip but McSwegan shot wide with the loose ball.
Full Time Kilmarnock 2 Motherwell 0
Match Report by Ricky Mullen