Motherwell 2, Hearts 0

Match Date: Saturday, August 28 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 7,095
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Corrigan, Craigan, Kinniburgh, Hammell, McBride (Fagan 88), Leitch, O'Donnell, Foran (Fitzpatrick 77), McDonald, Clarkson. Subs not used: Corr, Cowan, Partridge, Wright, Burns.

Motherwell scorers: McBride (59 pen), O'Donnell (67).

Booked: Leitch.


Motherwell  2     Hearts  0 

A BRILLIANT STRIKE FROM PHIL O'DONNELL Helped Motherwell defeat their visitors from the East and haul the Fir Parkers up to fifth in the table. It was a thoroughly deserved three points as Motherwell dominated the second half with some fine play. 

The visitors were first on the attack and, pouncing on a loose Clarkson ball, Maybury broke forward. His cross was partially blocked by Craigan though Pereira managed to flick the ball on for Kisnorbo. However, he and Leitch tangled with both players looking set to square up before Referee Freeland separated them, deeming a warning enough. Hartley shot well over before a slip from Hammel allowed Kisnorbo through though he also shot high and wide.  Motherwell were creating little of note early on and again it was the visitors with Stamp seeing his drive deflect off Craigan into the arms of Marshall. A nasty Hamill tackle on McBride left the Motherwell man in pain though there was no card for what was quite a reckless challenge. At last the Fir parkers broke through, MacDonald making the by-line after skipping round Neilson and Webster only for the Referee to decide the ball had ran out. Clarkson then found McBride and the deep cross only just fell beyond the waiting Foran. Hearts won a foul when Kinninburgh's challenge was deemed illegal on Kisnorbo. The Australian got a shot in though it was cleared by Leitch. Motherwell passed up a great opportunity when Craigan's ball found Clarkson and although he waltzed passed Pressley his next touch was too heavy allowing Gordon to gather.  

After Stamp had fouled Leitch the free kick from Hammel was too close to the visiting keeper giving him a comfortable save. MacDonald pounced on a loose Neilson ball and it took an alert Gordon to deny him. Kevin McBride then embarked on a run which took him to the edge of the box and despite being clearly fouled by Neilson Referee Freeland waved play on. On the half-hour Foran did very well to dispossess Pressley after a stramash on the touchline but the Referee enraged the home support by awarding a free kick to the visitors.  Motherwell came close to scoring and perhaps should have moments later.  MacDonald forced a corner off Pressley which then fell right the feet of MacDonald himself. Without time to react the ball bounced off him when all he needed to do was prod the ball home, with Leitch only able to find the side net as he and Foran tried desperately to slot the ball away. Foran then lay injured a minute or two later after colliding with Gordon following a Motherwell free kick, both recovering after treatment. Motherwell were looking confident and a fine, flowing move ended with Hammel firing over the top. The visitors had to make a change when Stamp went of to be replaced by Stewart. A two-footed challenge on Foran by Neilson had the Motherwell support up in anger though Referee Freeland deemed again a free kick was sufficient. Freeland then made a poor decision when, after Kinniburgh and Neilson had clashed out on the wing; he gave a free kick to Hearts. The Linesman, just a yard away, awarded Motherwell a throw whilst the Referee, positioned over 30 yards further back, gave the free kick. Just on the interval Neilson dived out wide with no reaction from the Referee, though he did book Maybury who couldn't keep his mouth closed. 

Half time     Motherwell  0     Hearts  0 

The Fir Parkers began where the left off, on the attack, and should have been awarded a dangerous free kick when Corrigan had his progress halted by a Maybury foul, though not in the eyes of Referee Freeland. He did award a free kick when Pressley brought down Clarkson but decided that, despite Pressley's continued complaints, a card was not in order. O'Donnell looked to be fouled by Hamill though no official noticed. Clarkson was taken out by a late Webster lunge and once advantage had stopped the Referee rightly produced a yellow card. Clever build-up play involving Corrigan and McBride sent Clarkson wide. His ball was gathered by MacDonald and despite looking on he was flagged offside as his chip went over. Clarkson then pounced on a slip by Webster and cut the ball back only for Hamill to concede the corner with several Motherwell players ready to pounce. O'Donnell and Clarkson then played a neat one-two but the former mis-kicked with the goal gaping. Pressley escaped a card when he brought down McBride, and from the free kick somehow still failed to see yellow when he clearly tugged away at O'Donnell's shirt to give Motherwell a penalty kick.  McBride confidently strode up and slammed the ball home for the opener. Captain Leitch then saw yellow for what was his first mis-timed challenge of the match, and given what his opposite number had escaped with, he could count himself very unfortunate indeed. A double change for Hearts saw Wyness and McAllister replacing Weir and Neilson respectively. Superb work from MacDonald forced another corner which was eventually cleared.  

Pereira was lucky to escape punishment when he tangled with Marshall after being flagged offside, the striker seeming to kick out at the keeper. Weir conceded a free kick when he fouled McBride, with Pressely knocking this behind. After again conceding a corner, the ball came out to O'Donnell on the edge of the box and he scored one of, if not the, goals of the season with a brilliant volley inside the postage stamp top left corner. It was a fantastic goal, and the Motherwell support and players alike hailed the finish. Pressley's luck had ran out when he was booked fouling MacDonald. And he was quickly joined by Pereira who was lucky not to see red for a high kick on Craigan. Good defensive work from Hammel prevented Stewart going clear on Marshall, and moments later Motherwell almost got a third from the visitors themselves. McAllister headed back with the visiting Keeper only just able to palm the ball away. Richie Foran was then replaced by Mark Fitzpatrick, receiving a loud cheer as he left after a sterling shift. It was still Motherwell who looked likely, McBride crossing for Clarkson with Webster hooking clear in the nick of time. A free kick from McAllister was easily dealt with by Marshall. O'Donnell and Corrigan then combined with the cross seeming to come off Pressley though a goal kick was given. McBride burst into the box and he was clearly tugged back by McAllister there was no penalty. McBride was replaced by Fagan a minute later. A cross from Hamill found Kisnorbo as the visitors tried to claw something back, the header well held by Marshall. Brilliant work from Craigan then denied Kisnorbo whose shot was held. Motherwell should have made it three in the final minute when Clarkson and MacDonald broke upfield. However, the ball from MacDonald fell just behind Clarkson whose shot was smothered by Gordon. However, the whistle soon went and Motherwell emerged worthy winners. 

Full Time     Motherwell  2     Hearts  0

Match Report by Ricky Mullen