Motherwell 3, Dundee Utd 1

Match Date: Saturday, January 3 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 5,549
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Quinn, Craigan, Corrigan, Hammell, Lasley, Adams, Leitch (O'Donnell 79), Dair, Clarkson, Burns. Subs Not Used: Corr, McDonald, Fagan, Wright.

Motherwell scorer: Clarkson (59, 70, 90)

Booked: Hammell, Clarkson, Leitch.


Motherwell  3     Dundee United  1 

A FANTASTIC SECOND-HALF HAT-TRICK From 18-year-old David Clarkson gave Motherwell not only all three points but their first goals in over 500 minutes of action. It had looked bleak after a disappointing first half but Motherwell completely dominated proceedings after the break and fully deserved the win. 

The game began at a pace with Hammel finding Clarkson up front only for the young striker to be brought down by Wilson; however there was to be no foul.  Wilson then backed into Clarkson but the visitors were given the free kick.  Another long ball, this time from Dair, was knocked out by Innes and from the throw Clarkson had his shot blocked by Paterson who also cleared. The first real show from United was a Scotland pass to Wilson but his cross was beyond his strikers and out of play. Leitch then found Dair and the cross was nicked away from Clarkson by Dodds. Kerr picked up possession and although Dair looked to have tackled fairly a free kick was awarded. A loose ball was pounced upon by Clarkson but he saw his shot smothered by the body of McCracken and hooked away.  Scotland gathered the ball but as Craigan came in the striker appeared to take a bit of a dive over the legs of the Motherwell man and play continued. A minute later Scotland again showed some fine amateur dramatics as Craigan challenged and this time fooled Referee Richmond into giving a free kick. Wilson stepped up and curled the ball through a gap in the wall and beyond Marshall for the opening goal. Some of Referee Richmond's decisions were baffling, and he kept this up by giving United a free kick when Clarkson had cleanly won the ball from a dithering Archibald. A long free kick from Wilson was gathered by Corrigan but despite being fouled by Innes play continued and the ball ran out of play.  Wilson then brought down Clarkson and this time Referee Richmond did award a free kick. Cleared to Corrigan a chip forward had Adams racing away until a close offside call brought him back. Archibald then conceded a corner from Leitch which Dair rose to meet but headed past, though Burns was almost onto the ball.  

The visitors then had a chance when Paterson found Archibald but his header was wide. United forced a corner of their own shortly afterwards which Marshall punched to Dair and he hooked away. Gallagher in the visiting goal was called into action a moment later when Dair collected a loose ball and fired in from 25 yards, this after a foul by Innes on Clarkson was ignored. An off side flag was raised to deny Dair as he looked to go clear on Clarkson's pass and it was close to say the least. Scott Leitch was then brought down by Dodds but Wilson was on hand to smack the free kick way downfield. Leitch was receiving some rough treatment, this time McIntyre the culprit tough again the free kick was dealt with by the United defence. There was an early change when Innes had to go off injured, his replacement being Duff. Teammate Archibald then saw yellow for a late tackle on Derek Adams in midfield. Stevie Hammel joined him in the book and was a little unfortunate as the challenge on Wilson looked fairly innocuous.  Paterson whipped the ball in but Marshall took comfortably. A long clearance from Craigan then found Burns who in turn supplied Dair but the United defence grouped to crowd him out. Clarkson the n burst though but with options chose to go alone and found Archibald waiting to tackle and clear. Just on the interval Motherwell survived a major scare. Scotland sent Wilson wide and his cross was headed towards goal by McIntyre. The ball smacked off the post and ran across the goal line before running out of play. 

Half Time     Motherwell  0     Dundee United  1 

United were first to show after the interval with McInnes having his shot charged down by Corrigan and cleared. Another dose of Scotland theatrics gained a free kick and had Craigan warned by Referee Richmond. United had to make another change, McIntyre going off injured and being replaced by Samuel. They attacked with Kerr finding Paterson and he tested Marshall but again the big keeper held the effort. Motherwell pushed up with Burns making the by line and his ball across was only just missed by Clarkson. Quinn played the ball back in and won a corner off Archibald. Corrigan returned the ball but this time it was too long. The Fir Parkers returned to the attack but Craigan's ball to Lasley saw the shot blocked by Duff with Quinn clear to his side. Motherwell came even closer when, after winning a free kick as Wilson fouled Adams, Dair headed goalwards but saw Archibald clear off the line. Wilson was lucky not to be booked for a show of dissent. There was then a booking for Clarkson when he went down under a hefty Archibald challenge. It looked a foul, but Referee Richmond chose to book Clarkson for an alleged dive, ridiculous given what Scotland had produced in terms of falls thus far without as much as a word of warning. Undaunted, the Fir Parkers sniffed parity. Lasley found Dair but his ball through to Clarkson was only just collected by Gallagher as Clarkson hovered. Archibald then completely missed a cross and Burns smacked it off McCracken and over. McCracken conceded a quick second which Lasley eventually smashed goalwards only to see Gallagher hold. Motherwell looked much more dangerous and levelled just on the hour mark. Adams sent a terrific ball through to the racing Clarkson and rounding Gallagher slotted home from a tight angle to at last put Motherwell on the score sheet for the first time in six attempts. However, within a minute the visitors could have regained the lead.  Samuel cracked in a 25-yard shot only for Marshall to superbly tip the ball round for a corner which Samuel himself headed in but Craigan cleared. The Fir Parkers resumed the attack with Dair only just putting a bit too much on a pass for Clarkson allowing Gallagher to gather. Then a terrific piece of play almost put Motherwell ahead. Craigan's pass was dummied by Burns into the path of Adams and his shot drifted narrowly past. It could have been a disastrous miss as only a point-blank save from Marshall kept the scores level. Scotland sent in a low cross which sub McLaren, on for Paterson, hit first time. Marshal blocked the ball the gathered as it ran loose. It was even more crucial a save within sixty seconds. From 30 yards Lasley saw his stinging shot tipped over by Gallagher and as Hammel put in the corner Clarkson headed home from 6 yards out to put Motherwell ahead.  

The Fir Parkers were rampant and almost went further ahead within two minutes.  Dair found Clarkson and his shot was brilliantly tipped over by Gallagher, who held the resultant corner. Samuel latched onto the ball and raced away towards Marshall only for a superbly timed tackle from Leitch to end his progress.  Leitch was less accurate with his next challenge, and saw yellow as Samuel fell to the ground. A fine run from Hammel then took him towards the box but his pass ran beyond Adams. United did attack with McLaren forcing a corner though this was held by Marshall. Adams and McInnes then clashed with the United man with McInnes guilty of retaliation though Referee Richmond ignored. Gallagher was keeping the visitors in touch and he produced another fantastic save to deny Burns who'd raced onto an Adams ball. There was a rapturous round of applause a minute later when Phil O'Donnell made his debut second time around for Motherwell, replacing Scott Leitch. Only the width of the crossbar denied Derek Adams when he sent in a fierce free kick from 30 yards out after Wilson had fouled Burns. With nine minutes left McLaren was booked after he made gestures towards the Motherwell fans. Desperate defending from United at a corner kept them in the game when McLaren cleared just as Adams was set to pounce. United then won a corner but Marshall gathered and sent Lasley away wide. He made ground before sending a shot narrowly past. Then Lasley fouled Wilson though from the free kick Archibald was guilty of fouling Marshall. Referee Richmond decided there would be some four minutes of injury time and during the last of these Motherwell made sure of the game. Hammel sent a long ball through to Clarkson and despite the illegal attentions of Wilson he was able to draw Gallagher and slot the ball beyond him to complete his hat trick. In the commotion which followed Wilson was booked and amidst his severe protests appeared to be booked again, though somehow United still had eleven players on the park as the final whistle went.  

Full Time     Motherwell  3     Dundee United  1

Match Report by Ricky Mullen