Motherwell 2, Partick Thistle 2

Match Date: Saturday, August 30 2003
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 6,193
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Quinn, Corrigan, Partridge, Hammell, Lasley, Adams, Leitch, Pearson, Burns (Clarkson 70), McFadden. 
Subs not used: Corr, Craig, McDonald, Kinniburgh.

Motherwell scorer: McFadden (9, 69).

Yellow Cards: Hammell, Lasley, Leitch.

Red Card: Pearson


Motherwell  2     Partick Thistle  2

MYSTIFYING AS EVER, JOHN ROWBOTHAM Further enraged Motherwell fans and players alike with a bungling show at Fir Park. After failing to send off Murray in the first half for a professional foul he then sent Stephen Pearson off for an alleged elbow when virtually no-one else in the ground noticed anything amiss.

Motherwell attacked at the off, with Murray having to desperately clear as Burns bore down on a McFadden through ball. Partick were then awarded a free kick when Quinn brought down. However, there was then the unwelcome sight of a booking for diving when Waddel was carded after he went down next to Corrigan.  A minute or so later Britton then headed over from Taylor's cross. The visitors then carved out another opening with Rowson making it to the edge of the box, supplying Waddel but his shot was charged down by Quinn for a corner.  Motherwell saw this off then took the lead in spectacular fashion. Burns slipped in a pass for McFadden on the half-way line and the Scottish International breezed past several challenges before curling a magnificent shot into the net from outside the box. McFadden then showed some special skill and was unfortunate to see his cross deflected behind. Pearson headed in but Anis cleared. The visiintg response was a shot from Grady which sailed well over the bar. Scott Leitch was unfortnate to concede free kick after he fell on the ball as Grady challenged, the visiting striker then kicking away at the ball and Leitch before Referee Rowbotham decided to give a free kick to Partick. Taylor met the free kick but Marshall saved easily. Marshall was in action moments later when he made a superb take from a Ross whipped cross. The Fir Parkers then carved open the visiting defence with Leitch making the telling pass but the final ball from Burns was inches too short and McFadden was beaten to the ball by Murray. It then took a vital interception from Corrigan to deny Britton who looked set to meet the Grady pass.  

Unfortunately for Motherwell Britton made no mistake soon afterwards. Grady made the by-line and his cross was nodded beyond Marshall for the equaliser.  Another Rowbotham mystifier came when Anis was high on Partridge but still got the free kick in his favour. The first major talking point came when McFadden raced clear onto a Burns pass only for Murray to bring the striker down as he bore down on Mikkelsen. It was clearly a goal-scoring opportunity but Rowbotham decided only to book the defender. Burns then stepped up but sent the free kick well over the bar. The Motherwell man was then the subject of another foul from Murray but there was only a free kick. Taylor stupidly threw the ball away but he escaped with a talking from the Referee. A neat ball from Adams almost then brought Burns a chance but Murray this time met the ball and cleared. Soon after a deliberate hand ball from Whyte failed to bring a yellow card, instead the free kick failed to trouble the visiting defence. Great defending from Martyn Corrigan then denied Grady a clear shot with the deflection gathered by Marshall. Referee Rowbotham somehow managed then to miss a blatant hand ball from already carded Murray and a follow-through from the same Player on McFadden. A terrific run from Martyn Corrigan then took him way upfield with his pass allowing Pearson a chance, however the shot struck Adams who was declared off-side. Partick had an opportunity when Leitch was adjudged to have fouled Grady. The all went behind for a corner which Corrigan headed away.  Whyte then joined the visiting attack but saw Marshall punch his cross away.  Play switched ends and Whyte looked none too clever as McFadden ghosted past him, the cross deflected behind. Just before the break Pearson was brought down by Whyte with McFadden driving the free kick off the wall. The ball was cleared to Leitch and his 25-yard shot went inches past the post. 

Half Time     Motherwell  1     Partick Thistle  1 

It was the visitors who showed firstly in the second half with Grady finding Ross but Marshall cleanly gathered the cross. Then came the bizarre sending off of Stephen Pearson. Few seemed to have seen anything amiss but suddenly Rowbotham ordered Pearson over and red-carded him for allegedly elbowing Lilley on the touchline. There was no reaction from the Thislte player and it angered the Motherwell fans and players greatly. Motherwell responded positively with Keith Lasley firing in a shot which Whyte charged down and cleared. Mcfadden and Burns then combined with Pearson only just deniedy as Murray booted the ball away downfield. Rowson was next to see yellow fro a trip on Derek Adams. Lilley should have joined his team-mate in the book when he pulled the jersey of McFaden but from the free kick McFadden himself was only just an inch away from connecting. Another quite obvious dive from Waddell, every bit as bad as his booking, should have seen him sent off but Rowbotham refused to issue a second yellow. McFadden was causing the visiting defence problems and he found Lasley but his shot was hooked away. The visitors made a change with Mitchell coming on to replace Anis. Partick were given a soft free kick when Grady fell under minimal Partridge pressure. Murray was leading a charmed life and he again escaped a second yellow when using McFadden as a ladder to clear the ball.  Waddell then saw a similar let off for a very late tackle on Quinn which Rowbotham completely ignored. Motherwell forced a corner and as Mikkelsen made a soft attempt at punching clear the ball struck Adams who had no time to react and the header went past.  

Scott Leitch was extremely unfortunate to then see a perfectly-timed tackle on Grady result in a free kick for the opposition. And moments afterwards there was a yellow card for Stevie Hammel who was booked for a foul on Waddel who clearly made the most of the challenge. Rowson drove the ball into the wall and the ball was cleared. Waddel then volleyed a shot well over and a minute later the visitors were made to count as Motherwell regained the lead. Burns, who had a quiet match, swept in a low cross from the right and McFadden beat two challenges to slot beyond Mikkelsen. It was Burns last involvement as he was replaced by Clarkson. The visitors made another change with Ross replacing Rowson, this shortly after Thomson had came on for Waddell. Partick were then given a free kick when Lasley clashed with Mitchell, with Lasley seeing yellow for the tackle. This was cleared but shortly afterwards Taylor curled an effort not far past the far post. The visitors then forced a corner but this was headed clear by Partridge. They then had another player booked when Ross completely took McFadden out of the game. The ball broke for Clarkson who raced to the other end of the field but when he was eventually crowded out Rowbotham booked Ross who was lucky not to go off. Visiting team-mate Grady then appeared to kick out at Hammel but Referee Rowbotham failed to spot this. Great work from Clarkson saw progress made into the box but the cross fell just beyond McFadden. A further visitor saw yellow when Lilley was carded as he sent Adams flying wide on the left. Partick then saw a period of pressure which ultimately saw them draw level. Thomson drove a shot wide and Ross then headed past before, from a cross from Grady, Taylor rose unchallenged to nod home. It was harsh on the ten-man Motherwell side who had done well to regain the lead and hold it. The sides, however, were level in terms of numbers as well as goals a minute later when Murray's luck ran out as he clambered all over Clarkson.  Referee Rowbotham's card-happy performance wasn't quite finished there, booking Leitch as the Motherwell captain seemed to have won the ball from Mitchell. And as time ran out he waved a card at Grady who took a clear dive on the edge of the box.  

Full time     Motherwell  2     Partick Thistle  2

Match Report by Ricky Mullen