Motherwell 0, Dundee Utd 1

Match Date: Saturday, May 8 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 5,722.
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Quinn, Craigan, Corrigan, Hammell, Fagan, Adams, Burns (Craig 81), Dair, Scott McDonald, Clarkson.
Subs not used: Corr, Kevin McDonald, Wright, Higgins

Booked: Scott McDonald, Fagan.


Motherwell  0     Dundee United  1

FOR THE THIRD GAME IN-A-ROW, Motherwell failed to score and also lost as their disappointing debut in the top six continued. Despite having the better of the play they lost out to one of the visitors two efforts on target.

Motherwell pushed u from the start with Adams finding Clarkson but Archibald cleared. McDonald then appeared to win a corner off the defender but Referee Freeland, for the first of many occasions, called it wrong. An attempted clearance from Miller then spun high with Clarkson winning possession but again the call went wrongly in their favour. Hand ball against Scotland went unnoticed and, finding Samuel, he saw his cross deflected behind by Craigan. Innes laid the ball off for Miller who ballooned the ball well over the bar. It took a superb piece of defending from Corrigan to deny Kerr getting on the end of a chip from Miller soon after. The Fir Parkers quickly turned defence into attack with Burns finding McDonald and in beating Archibald looked to set up Fagan but an unfortunate slip saw the ball go beyond him. Fagan picked himself up and was unlucky to see his pass for Adams nicked behind by McCracken. Curling in a terrific corner the ball was missed completely by Gallagher in goals but also but everyone else. Bursting into the Motherwell box was Scotland but as he looked set to pull the trigger he lost possession to Craigan and then fouled the defender. Motherwell had the first of a few penalty claims denied when Quinn sent in a cross which clearly struck Miller on the hand but was ignored. Quinn again crossed for Adams and his knock-down to Dair saw a shot deflected behind. Duff and McDonald challenged and as the latter won fairly Referee Freeland thought otherwise and blew for a free kick. Played upfield Scotland turned Quinn but found Corrigan in his road and had to be content with a corner kick. Great play involving Burns and Clarkson openend up the visitors with Dair seeing his strong shot come off McCracken for a corner. Gallagher gathered and kicked out where Dair looked to have been sandwiched by Innes and McCracken, not so in the eyes of Freeland. McCracken attacked and beating Quinn his cross for Samuel was intercepted by Corrigan who cleared. Dair took possession upfield though his ball to Clarkson fell behind the striker allowing Innes to take. Motherwell were having good pressure but again the final ball let them down, this time Clarkson unable to find Quinn. Dair then burst away but Duff stopped the ball for Clarkson. It was all Motherwell at this point with Burns and Dair exchanging to set up Fagan but a low cross only just evaded Clarkson. The visiting response was a shot from Scotland which flew way over. Burns then saw his cross go for a corner though Miller cleared. Just before the break Adams played a ball for Clarkson who appeared to be caught by the arm of Kerr though play continued.

Half Time     Motherwell  0     Dundee United  0

Action was fast at the start of the second half. Dair saw a shot blocked to Hammell but his effort was cleared allowing the visitors to break and win a corner. Miller found Scotland though Craigan cleared downfield. Adams gathered and found Clarkson but he saw his cross go beyond McDonald. Only some fantastic goalkeeping from Gallagher kept Motherwell out moments later. Fagan crossed for Clarkson and his header was brilliantly saved by the visiting Keeper. Clarkson was able to get in a second effort but this time despite beating Gallagher on the line was McCracken who cleared. That was to prove crucial as United took the lead just a minute or so later. Wilson beat Hammell for pace on the edge of the box and looped a shot over Marshall into the net. Again desperate defending by the visitors kept Motherwell out. Hammell found Dair with a long ball though Duff conceded the corner. McDonald saw his goal-bound shot blocked virtually on the line by Kerr and as the ball broke Adams lifted his second attempt over the bar. McInnes pushed upfield for the visitors to find Samuel though the shot was low and wide. A late effort from Innes had Clarkson in agony but play was waved on. Scott McDonald was only a foot or so away from the target with a 25-yard shot shortly afterwards. Then a turn and shot from Hammell had Gallagher scrambling to save on his line. A foul by Miller on Dair gave the Fir Parkers an opportunity some 30 yards out but Burns failed to beat the wall and the chance was lost. Wilson then took McDonald down from the back but there was no card, only a free kick. McDonald won a corner but this was cleared. Responding for the visitors was Miller who failed to trouble Marshall with a 20-yard shot. From a corner conceded by Innes the rising Clarkson couldn't keep a header down. United made a change, Scotland replaced by Dodds. A slip from Hammell then gave Samuel a chance and his shot from just inside the box cleared the bar by a few inches. Superb play from McDonald opened the United defence moments later but Hammell's low cross was cleared by McCracken. Motherwell then forced another corner but failed to make it count. Another visiting change had Samuel replaced by Conway. An Adams/Fagan combination created an opportunity for the latter but his shot went past. Innes was then caught late by McDonald with the visiting defender making the most of the challenge to get McDonald carded. Motherwell made a change, Craig replacing Burns. A low shot from Clarkson had Gallagher in difficulties, the keeper gathering at the second attempt. Craig then forced a corner off Archibald and although cleared a foul by Duff on Quinn kept up the pressure. Dair crossed and the ball clearly came off the hand of McInnes though again play was waved on. A third change for the visitors had Miller replaced by Easton. Hammell and Fagan then combined to play in Quinn but his cross fell just behind Clarkson in the clear. A third hand ball decision went against Motherwell when Dair saw his cross strike Easton on the arm inside the box. Sean Fagan then saw yellow for dissent regarding the penalty claim. With time running out Easton fouled Clarkson and from the free kick Adams curled an effort inches past.

Full time     Motherwell  0     Dundee United  1

Match Report by Ricky Mullen