Dundee United 1, Motherwell 0

Match Date: Saturday, March 27 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 7,585
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Team (4-4-2): Marshall, Quinn, Corrigan, Craigan, Hammell, Fagan, Lasley, Burns, Dair, Scott McDonald, Clarkson (Craig 74).
Subs not used: Corr, O'Donnell, Craig, Kinniburgh.

Booked: Corrigan, Lasley.


Dundee United  1     Motherwell  0

DESPITE DOMINATING THE SECOND HALF Motherwell slipped a place in the Premier League after losing to the only goal of the game. It was a hard one to take as Motherwell played some great stuff at times and looked set to at least gain a deserved point.

First opportunity fell to the home side when McIntyre went down under a Craigan challenge. Hammel cleared to Miller but his return fell for McInnes who sliced the ball wide. Hammel took the goal kick and played it long for Fagan though the interception from Archibald ended the danger. A slip from Jason Dair then gave McIntyre a chance but he could only drive into the arms of Marshall. A one-two involving McLaren and Miller opened up a chance though again Marshall was on hand to gather the shot. Motherwell rode the early storm and gained a free kick when Burns was fouled by McLaren. Hammel could only drive he free kick off the wall with the follow up from Dair drifting narrowly over the cross bar. Slack defensive play from Innes almost let in Clarkson and only quick work from Gallacher cleared. Poor officiating from Referee Dougall gave United a free kick near the box after the Linesman had already indicated a goal kick when better positioned. Cleared, Hammel beat Wilson to the ball fairly but again Referee Dougall decided otherwise. From the free kick McIntyre rose unchallenged but headed wide of goal. Desperate defending kept the scoreline blank soon after. Burns turned into the box and brought out a great save from Gallacher with McDonald and Clarkson seeing their efforts blocked by Innes and Kerr. Good build up from Motherwell saw Fagan bring out another good save from Gallacher a moment later. The home side broke forward with Robson making the box. His cross was laid off by Miller to McIntyre but a poor touch allowed Hammel to clear. 

Hammel took play upfield and found Clarkson but his cross was plucked out of the air by Gallacher. Clarkson was then taken out of the play by a cynical challenge by Robson and as play was waved on Lasley crossed too deeply. Motherwell were making the play and McDonald found Hammel. His cross fell to Fagan at the back post but his rushed shot went over with Clarkson good position. Hammel then looked to have won the ball cleanly from Miller but a free kick was awarded outside the box. Robson curled the ball in but Marshall was alert to divert the ball behind for a corner. Jason Dair broke with the ball and picked out Clarkson though the cross was blocked behind and, when swung in, saw a foul given against Craigan for high feet. A fifty-fifty between Innes and Fagan looked fair enough though Dougall decided it was a foul against the Motherwell man. Clarkson regained possession but was then pushed out of play by Archibald with play continuing. Motherwell came very close to opening the scoring with some fine play. Dair and Clarkson combined to find McDonald and his turn on the edge of the box saw him drive a low shot inches past the far post. After Motherwell had forced another corner which was cleared the home side attacked. McIntyre got on the end of Robson's cross but Craigan cleared. Still the Fir Parkers looked the likelier and after Corrigan had found Hammel his low shot from some 35 yards out had Gallacher struggling to knock the ball round the post. McINnes cleared to Robson who fouled burns but play continued. McLaren made the box and although Archibald knocked behind a corner was given which Hammel cleared. Just before the break only superb defending denied Motherwell. Burns ran onto Hammel's pass and the low cross looked set to be knocked in by Clarkson until Innes conceded the corner.

Half time     Dundee United  0     Motherwell  0

An early chance came Motherwell's way when McInnes tripped McDonald some 30 yards out. Hammel drove the free kick off the wall only for Corrigan to fire the rebound high over. Play swung to the other end of the park with Miller denied by Lasley at the expense of a corner, though an unnecessary dive by the United player had the home fans screaming for a penalty. Quinn was on hand to clear. Motherwell were unlucky when great work from McDonald saw a low cross go through the legs of Fagan in front of goals and behind. Terrific defending by Martyn Corrigan then denied McLaren getting in on Marshall. United were lucky to escape when Gallacher struck a clearance off Clarkson and was relieved to see the ball race the right side of the post as far as he was concerned. Miller was lucky to escape a caution when he left Lasley writhing in agony. However, three minutes later he was booked for a similar reckless hack, this time on Alex Burns. Motherwell pressed again. Clarkson made the by-line and his ball feel for McDonald. The shot was expertly parried by Gallacher who tipped the ball wide and Dair had his effort blocked to safety. After conceding a throw-in to Motherwell McLaren couldn't keep his mouth shut and was promptly booked for dissent. To make his day worse he was then hauled off to be replaced by Scotland, with Miller making way for Dodds. 

A foul by McInnes then gave Motherwell a chance but the free kick was too close to Gallacher. A minute later Motherwell went behind much against the run of play. A long shot from Robson was parried by Marshall allowing Scotland to tuck the ball away. It was hard on Motherwell who had looked much likelier up to that point. Only a brilliant save from the home keeper denied an immediate response. McDonald found Fagan and his intelligent effort from outside the box was tipped onto the bar by Gallacher and over for a corner. McDonald then found Dair but his angled drive went past the far post. The hard-working McDonald was at the heart of most things Motherwell and he again laid in Clarkson though Innes cleared. A blatant dive by Scotland failed to convince Dougall a moment or two later. David Clarkson then left to be replaced by Stevie Craig. Keeper Marshall then had to look sharp to save well from a Wilson effort. The home side then replaced Wilson with Easton. A slip in the Well defence then almost allowed the home side to take advantage though Kerr drove a Scotland pass well over. Motherwell had a shout for a penalty when Burns appeared to be barged over by Innes inside the box and whilst it was no stonewaller there was contact. A fantastic double-save from Gallacher then stopped Motherwell. Firstly he blocked off a shot from McDonald and from the rebound did likewise as Dair drove towards goal. Martyn Corrigan was booked for a deliberate hand ball a minute later. A vital interception from Innes then prevented McDonald going clear on Gallacher as Motherwell kept up the pressure. A ball into the United box then had Craig and Gallacher chasing and as the two clashed the ball broke but Referee Dougall decided despite the ball being in open play it was a foul in favour of the keeper. An elbow by Scotland on Corrigan gave Motherwell a free kick with the Jamaican escaping any real punishment. Motherwell forced several corners in the final few minutes but could not make the vital breakthrough with some desperate defending and lack of luck denying them. In the final minute Lasley was booked for a foul on Scotland. Despite showing 4 minutes of injury time Referee Dougall decided to halt proceedings almost a minute early.

Full Time     Dundee United  1     Motherwell  0

Match Report by Ricky Mullen