Dunfermline 1, Motherwell 0
|Match Date: Saturday, January 24 2004|
|Competition: Scottish Premier League|
|Motherwell Team (4-4-2):|
Corr, Quinn, Corrigan, Craigan, Hammell, Lasley (Scott McDonald 79),
Adams, O'Donnell, Dair, Burns, Clarkson.
Subs not used: Marshall, Bollan, Fagan, Kinniburgh
ANOTHER LATE LOSS LEAVES WELL POINTLESS
Dunfermline Athletic 1 Motherwell 0
FOR THE SECOND SUCCESSIVE WEEK An error in defence cost Motherwell a share of the points on their travels. Like Ibrox, with the game petering out to a no-scoring draw Motherwell shot themselves in the foot to return home without any points.
Motherwell had to make a change shortly before kick-off with the news that Gordon Marshall had succumbed to an injury sustained during the week, Barry John Corr getting his first start. First attack of the game came from the home side, Darren Young finding Crawford though a terrific tackle from Corrigan sent the ball wide where Derek Young could only skew his cross behind. Motherwell immediately responded with Burns latching onto a throw from Hammel only for Stillie to block at the last gasp as a goal threatened. Clarkson regained possession and his chip was hooked high into the air by Skerla, with Wilson able to clear though shouts for a penalty were ignored as Stillie looked to have fouled Burns. Dunfermline themselves went closer when Crawford turned on the edge of the box to supply Brewster and his effort nicked the top of the bar on it's way behind. David Clarkson was looking sharp and he picked out Burns. Just as the striker bore down on goals Wilson came across sending the ball to safety. The home response was a shot from Thomson which Craigan blocked and cleared. Stephen Craigan was forced to concede a corner soon after but Adams was on hand to head it away, though within sixty seconds the Motherwell defence were having to see out another. Brewster fired in a shot from Lasley's partial clearance but Craigan prevented the ball from causing Corr any trouble. Wilson then sent a long ball to Derek Young but his cross deflected off Craigan and he was able to hook away.
A knock down by Brewster into the path of Crawford was cleared by Lasley though the home fans were screaming for hand ball though it looked anything but. The Fir Parkers almost took the lead after 26 minutes. Lasley combined with Burns and although Wilson nipped in the ball ran for Burns whose shot was tipped over by Stillie. Thomson headed clear from the corner to set up a counter-attack. Crawford broke to the edge of the box and although forced out passed for Wilson whose effort was wide to say the least. David Clarkson then thought he had won an important challenge fairly to race on Stillie but Referee McDonald, who had some weird and wonderful decisions throughout the match, decided Skerla had been fouled. A one-two involving Crawford and Brewster then saw the latter send a 25-yard shot well over the bar. The home side were forced into a change, Nicholson being replaced by Shields. Alex Burns was furious with the linesman soon afterwards when it looked like his cross from the by-line was in, the Linesman deciding otherwise. Burns then went down after landing awkwardly on the artificial surface though fortunately recovered after treatment. Seven minutes from the interval Dunfermline passed up a great chance to go ahead. Brewster played Skerla in on the right and with the Motherwell defence unable to react Skerla chipped over Corr but also wide of the far post. Dunfermline then won a corner though Phil O'Donnell headed away. An attempted volley by Brewster a minute later sailed well over the bar. Just before the break it was Motherwell's turn to pass up a golden opportunity. Dair found O'Donnell and, making the by-line, he crossed to Burns who took a touch then fired inches over the bar from 14 yards out.
Half Time Dunfermline Athletic 0 Motherwell 0
Dunfermline showed firstly at the start of the half, Dempsey running onto Brewster's pass but volleying spectacularly wide of the target. The Fir Parkers, however, really should have taken the lead shortly after. Paul Quinn played a superb ball through to the running O'Donnell and, clear on Stillie, he slipped the ball past the keeper but failed to find the target, the ball appearing to nick the post on it's way behind. David Clarkson then went down injured and, after receiving treatment, Referee McDonald ridiculously refused to allow Clarkson to return to the pitch for the best part of three minutes. In fact, Terry Butcher was so angry he had a shouting match with Referee McDonald who still refused to allow Clarkson to return until a moment of his saying. After Thomson has won a corner it was Derek Adams who was well placed on the line to head a header from Wilson which looked destined for the back of the net. It was close, though Dunfermline's next effort was much further away. Darren Young made space on the edge of the box but failed to match this up with a weak shot sailing well past. It got from bad to worse for Young as he was booked, and perhaps lucky not to see red, when a minute later he cynically took Burns out of the play as the striker raced through the midfield. Corr then had to concede a corner after Mason had sent a ball from Crawford deep into the box. This was to lead to the game's only goal, and the defending would not have pleased Motherwell manager Terry Butcher. As the corner came in both O'Donnell and Hammel went for the ball with the weak clearance hooked on by Crawford to Darren Young and his over-head kick sliced beyond Corr into the net.
Brewster then made way for Labonte as the home side decided to see out the game with an additional defender on board. Martyn Corrigan became Motherwell's only booking of the game for a rather innocuous challenge on Crawford who clearly made the most of the tackle. Indeed, Crawford then set about trying to get Steven Craigan into trouble by shouting at the centre-half, with Referee McDonald amazing the Motherwell player by warning him of his conduct whilst allowing Crawford to escape. With twelve minutes to go Motherwell brought on Scott McDonald in place of Keith Lasley. A foul by Darren Young on Adams gave Motherwell a free kick 35 yards out. Cleared to O'Donnell his effort back in was held by Stillie though only at the second attempt. Wilson was lucky to escape a booking for clambering all over Clarkson 25 yards from goal. Dunfermline changed Dempsey for Tod to further shore things up. Motherwell kept the pressure up but Adams could only chip into the arms of Stillie shortly afterwards. The East End Park side then gained a soft-looking free kick when Shields made the most of a challenge by Adams, though O'Donnell was on hand to head away. Much to the amusement of the travelling support Crawford then managed to volley an angled 15-yard shot so high it almost cleared the stand. With a minute left Jason Dair almost returned to haunt his former team with a curling effort which wasn't so far away.
Full Time Dunfermline Athletic 1 Motherwell 0
Match Report by Ricky Mullen