Livingston 3, Motherwell 1

Match Date: Saturday, February 14 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 3,492
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Quinn, Corrigan, Craigan, Bollan (Wright 65), Lasley, Adams, O'Donnell (Scott McDonald 45), Dair, Clarkson, Burns.
Subs not used: Corr, Kevin McDonald, Kinniburgh.

Motherwell scorer: Adams (90 pen).

Booked: Craigan, Adams, Burns.


THE HOODOO AT CITY/ALMONDVALE/COURIER STADIUM Continued for Motherwell as they failed to take anything once again. Optimism was high after the high-scoring victory over Dundee during the week, but this match was all over by half time.

Motherwell played the ball around a bit at the start, but that counted for nothing when the home side put together their first attack. Despite Livingston's well-publicised problems, they suffered thus far little at the hands of the Administrator and had more or less they first choice team pre-administration. One of them, Fernandez, played in McAllister, and he fired home from outside the box with the Motherwell defence slow to close him down. Dorado then made the by-line and his cross was met by Makel though Craigan headed away. Motherwell gained a free kick when Rubio, guilty of several late challenges throughout the match, brought down Clarkson. Bollan played the ball in but as the ball broke McKenzie pounced on it before Lasley could. Rubio then hit Burns, and from this free kick McAllister brought down Lasley in the box but there was no penalty. O'Donnell then sent Clarkson wide and his through ball sent Burns away though a questionable off-side flag ended the move. Jason Dair won a corner a second or two later but Rubio hit it clear. Motherwell were beginning to come more and more into things with Burns cutting inside the box and firing in a shot which McKenzie did very well indeed to beat away. The Fir Parkers should have had a corner when O'Donnell and Lilley challenged with the latter appearing to head behind but a goal kick was given. Livingston had the ball in the net a second time but it was chopped off for high-feet against O'Brien on Craigan. They were more fortunate with a free kick in their favour a minute later when Andrews, who had been fouling Clarkson on the by-line, was given the free kick by poorly positioned Referee Freeland. 

There were some meaty tackles flying around, and in quick succession firstly Rubio and then Lilley, on O'Donnell and Adams respectively, were late and dangerous though not in the eyes of Freeland. Again Rubio fouled, this time Burns the recipient, and as Adams objected to Rubio the defender lifted his hands. Referee Freeland decided a word of warning for the player, who thus far had committed more fouls than the rest of his teammates put together, would be sufficient. O'Donnell then looked to have forced a corner after Andrews had knocked behind but there was only a goal kick forthcoming. The near side linesman then decided he had a better view of the far side and was ready to give a goal kick after McNamee had ran the ball out though the Referee awarded a corner. However, O'Donnell could only head into the hands of McKenzie. Good defending from Bollan saw a dangerous move, involving Fernandez and Makel, came to nothing by forcing the latter wide. The home side began to force the play and doubled their advantage thanks to some sloppy defending. McNamee and Fernandez worked the move before finding Lilley who shot from 16 yards. A minute later Fernandez found Lilley again but this time he shot wide of the mark. A climb by Dorado on Clarkson gave Motherwell respite. The free kick was hooked in by Bollan to Burns but despite looking on he was flagged off side. The Linesman on the other side of the park was more generous towards Livingston. Looking well offside, Fernandez ran on to a Lilley pass but with only Marshall to beat the keeper made a terrific save. The Fir Park defence then almost self-destructed, offering several chances to the home side. Fernandez intercepted a slack header from Corrigan and Marshall made a fantastic stop. Fernandez again then attempted a scissors kick from a Lilley ball but failed to hit the mark. Motherwell came out of defence and went close themselves. Lovell fouled Adams and from the free kick Burns curled in a great effort which hit the side netting. Fernandez was lucky not to be booked when he deliberately handled. Alex Burns then tried his luck from 25 yards and he wasn't so far over the bar. Both Makel and Burns were then booked for what could easily have been settled with a warning from Freeland. Teammate Craigan was adjudged to have fouled Fernandez 8 yards from the by line though from the free kick Lilley had his header saved. However, Motherwell had failed to head the earlier problems and conceded a third before the beak. Makel found Fernandez and he rounded Marshall before finishing.

Half Time     Livingston  3     Motherwell  0

There were changes on both sides at the break, McDonald replacing O'Donnell for Motherwell with McLaughlin on for Dorado for the home side. Adams did very well indeed to work the ball between two defenders and his attempt on goal had McKenzie struggling to tip the ball over the bar. McKenzie was under pressure again seconds later when, from the corner, he had to dive to stop Clarkson scoring. Andrews then escaped a booking for a foul on Craigan yet strangely Craigan saw yellow for reasons best known only to Referee Freeland. Lilley then deliberately tripped Craigan but wasn't booked. Brilliant work from Corrigan stopped a moment of danger when he cut out a Lilley header finding Fernandez inside the box. Fernandez was very lucky indeed to only see yellow for a pretty nasty effort on Adams, and in the following few minutes the Spaniard ran about like a madman and somehow avoided another card. After a Craigan clearance had struck O'Brien but a corner was given, the ball was cleared to Adams and it was Fernandez again who took out the Motherwell man only at the expense of a free kick. Adams picked himself up but sent the free kick wide. A minute later Motherwell really should have reduced the deficit. Dair sent a pass in through the middle of the defence finding Lasley but clear on McKenzie he could only blast the ball over the bar when it seemed easier to score. Home skipper Lovell could then count himself lucky not to receive a straight red when he appeared to kick out at McDonald, receiving a yellow instead. Motherwell were attempting to get right back into things and only good defending from Rubio cut out the dangerous pass from Dair to McDonald. Burns made ground only to find again Rubio on hand to block. Motherwell made another change, Bollan replaced by Wright as the Fir Parkers attempted to attack heavily. For the home side, McGovern replaced McMenanmin. 

However, it left gaps with Makel almost able to capitalise though Lasley did superbly well to deny him. Clarkson was then then subject of a further late, late Rubio effort though incredibly Referee Freeland failed to stop play. Rubio, who by now should have been showered and changed, was at last booked for a tackle from the back on Clarkson though quite how he still remained on the park was mystifying. Indeed, his two-footed tackle on Burns went unnoticed. Good pressing from Scott McDonald forced a corner but it was cleared. Lasley then went down injured after Fernandez had hit him from the back with Referee Freeland choosing to ignore. Derek Adams rather unnecessarily gained a booking when he tugged the shirt of Makel. There was no off side flag for Fernandez who looked well beyond the back line and as he played in Makel the resultant shot went over. Fernandez then left to be replaced by McMenanmin. The shot from Makel had been deflected and once the corner came in Andrews, unchallenged, headed over. Livingston had another corner a minute later though this time a clear push by McMenanmin on Quinn was ignored. Motherwell pushed upfield and Clarkson won a corner for the Fir Parkers. Wright saw his effort blocked away as the corner fell to him inside the box. However, Motherwell did receive one crumb of comfort in the final minute. Lovell flattened Wright inside the box and from the penalty although Adams saw his strike blocked by McKenzie he followed up to score. 

Full Time     Livingston  3     Motherwell  1

Match Report by Ricky Mullen