Motherwell 2, Hearts 0

Match Date: Saturday, February 19 2005
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 7,390.
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Quinn, Craigan, Partridge, Hammell, Paterson (Foran 86), Fitzpatrick, Leitch, McBride, Hamilton, McDonald (Clarkson 84).
Subs not used: Corr, Wright, Fagan, Kinniburgh, Connolly.

Motherwell scorers: McDonald (26), Fitzpatrick (39).

Booked: McDonald.


Motherwell  2     Hearts  0

MOTHERWELL RECORDED THEIR FOURTH WIN IN-A-ROW Over the Visitors in convincing fashion on a very chilly day. It was the first time in almost 90 years the Fir Parkers were able to lay claim to such a statistic over Hearts, and rarely they would have had such a comfortable afternoon.

The first opportunity came for the visitors when Wyness, who latched onto a through ball, tested Marshall but the Motherwell custodian was equal to the task. Motherwell hit back with McDonald running deep into the Hearts half only to see Pressley block him out. A Hammel forward ball then caught out Pressley but Gordon was able to beat McDonald in the chase. Hammel then played Paterson wide and at the second attempt the cross was headed towards goal by Hamilton though the defence cleared. Pressley went right through Hamilton but play continued and Quinn conceded a corner, which was easily dealt with. Soon after, however, Motherwell were awarded a penalty when Wallace crudely brought McDonald down inside the box. Normal penalty taker McBride saw Hamilton clutch the ball and take the penalty, but soon realised his rashness when a weak kick was easily held by the Hearts keeper. Following a free kick, Craigan sent the ball long to McDonald and he did well to turn and fire in a shot from the edge of the box which zipped narrowly past the far post with Gordon struggling. A bad foul by Neilson had McBride in pain but a free kick was deemed sufficient. Motherwell did take a deserved lead on 24 minutes. Clever play from Hammel saw the defender race into the box and fire in a shot, which Gordon could only parry, however, McDonald was on hand to rapidly fire home the rebound to put Motherwell ahead. The striker was then promptly booked for the ridiculous crime of cupping his ear towards the away support. Soon afterwards McDonald again fired in a shot, which this time Gordon was able to hold. There was a booking issued for Wyness who was late on Craigan. Captain Leitch did well to shoot from 25 yards only to see the effort held. Last-ditch defending from Berra denied McDonald latching onto Hammel’s through ball moments later. A hefty challenge by Miller on Craigan left the Northern Irish International in some discomfort, though the Referee again decided a booking was not necessary. A free kick was given the other way soon after, with Hartley finding Miller who headed towards Marshall though he had little difficulty gathering. A superb ball from Hammel found McDonald and, after tearing Wallace apart, he sent in a shot virtually from on the touchline that Gordon did very well to parry. It was all Motherwell, and Paterson crossed for McBride who headed inches over the top. A weak header from Berra was the only response from the visitors, who fell further behind a minute later. Pressley’s poor header had his defence in trouble and as both Wallace and Berra dithered Fitzpatrick burst through to ram home an unstoppable shot beyond Gordon. By now, Pressley should have seen yellow after yet another foul on McDonald, but there was just a free kick. Again, the only response from Hearts was a dreadful Berra header. Mikoliunas went down very easily under a Paterson challenge near the break, and rolled about as if seriously injured. Suddenly, when a quick free kick looked on, he sprung to his feet much to the annoyance of the home support. Unlike McDonald, who was booked for communicating with the opposing fans earlier, Mikoliunas escaped despite clearly reacting towards the Motherwell support. 

Half Time     Motherwell  2     Hearts  0

An early booking should have come for Berra when he upended McDonald. The free kick found Hamilton but his header was cleared. The visitors had an opportunity when Cesnauskis passed to Simmons but Marshall again held firm. Paul Quinn then delivered a free kick right to the head of Hamilton but Gordon held the effort. A slip from Hammel conceded a corner but Partridge easily dealt with the whipped in ball. Hammel recovered to set up Hamilton but he was brought down by Berra. Although the free kick was partially cleared to Fitzpatrick he shot wide. Hearts then made a change, Wyness replaced by Burchill. Teammate Miller saw yellow when he kicked the ball at Fitzpatrick after Hartley had conceded a free kick. This was hooked as far as Paterson and his spectacular angled drive was well held. Paterson came agonisingly close to putting the game to bed when he met McBride’s cross perfectly only to see Gordon tip over the bar. The corner came as far as Hamilton but his shot was deflected to safety. Motherwell forced another corner soon after, with Hearts making a change when Cesnauskis was replaced by McAllister. His defensive team-mate Berra at last saw yellow when he was late, late, late on McBride. Terrific defensive work from Scott Leitch then denied Burchill who looked set to meet a cross from Mikoliunas. That same Lithuanian should have been booked when he crashed into McBride. Curling in the free kick Hammel saw the ball held firmly. Although creating little, the visitors did have a chance when Miller crossed for Burchill and it took a superb Quinn clearance to deny them. They then had a corner a minute later but this was easily cleared. Hamilton broke forward to the edge of the box but his deep cross was well plucked out of the air by Gordon as McDonald waited. A cross from Mikoliunas did find Burchill but this time the shot was wide. Miller went down rather easily under minimal Leitch contact and won a free kick some 12 yards out wide on the right. Marshall was clearly fouled by the combined efforts of Burchill and McAllister but play continued and Quinn swept clear. A further change by the visitors had Simmons making way for Kizys. Good play from McDonald gained a corner off Pressley but the header from Craigan went wide, though Hamilton showed great commitment to chance and concede a throw instead of a goal kick. Drilling in a low cross soon after was Miller of Hearts, but good communication between Craigan and Hammel saw them work the ball out of defence before Hammel was fouled by McAllister. Shortly afterwards Hamilton played in Paterson but his shot was deflected into the arms of Gordon. Leaving the field to a huge cheer was McDonald who had tortured the visiting defence all day, with David Clarkson replacing him. Another dive from Mikoliunas won him a free kick 30 yards out, but Berra was as accurate as previously with the header. Motherwell the changed Paterson, who had put in a great shift, for Foran. Berra was lucky to stay on the park after climbing all over Hamilton as play continued. Following a free kick to Hearts, Clarkson broke forward but Pressley mopped up his ball wide to Hamilton. Good persistence from McBride saw him find Hamilton but the first time shot from 18 yards was wide. Motherwell comfortably saw the game out, and sent Hearts home pointless once again.

Full Time     Motherwell  2     Hearts  0

Match Report by Ricky Mullen