Motherwell 1, Inverness CT 2

Match Date: Saturday, December 18 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 4,267.
Motherwell Team (4-3-3):

Marshall, Corrigan, Craigan, Partridge, Fitzpatrick, Leitch, O'Donnell (Quinn 61), McBride, Paterson, Clarkson, Foran. 
Subs Not Used: Burns, Corr, Cowan, Wright, Fagan, Keogh.

Motherwell scorer: Clarkson (65).

Booked: Clarkson.

Sent off: Clarkson.


Motherwell  1     Inverness CT  2 

THE FANTASTIC SIX-MATCH WINNING RUN Motherwell had enjoyed of recent weeks came to a shuddering halt as they quite literally failed to turn up for the start of this game. The visitors had a two-goal lead at the interval, and although Motherwell were the better team in the second half, the damage had already been done. 

Within the first few seconds Motherwell had a free kick, Munro catching Foran late. McBride crossed in deep but Brown was on hand to gather. O'Donnell was then the subject of another Munro foul, two in quick succession by the visitor, but still no word from Referee Toner. The Fir Parkers had started brightly enough, and Foran put in a superb cross only for Brown again to clutch the ball to safety ahead of the waiting Paterson. The first real sign of an Inverness presence, and it wasn't off the field amongst their 76 visiting fans, came seven minutes in. A long ball from Tokely found Bayne whose header failed to trouble Marshall unduly. Soon after, however, Tokely played another raking ball to Hart and his cross was well dug away by the alert Craigan. The first of many dramatic dives from Juanjo came when he was challenged by Craigan. The free kick came, Golabek struck the wall, but as it fell to Hart he volleyed over the bar from the edge of the box. Juanjo then found Duncan though his cross in found on Corrigan. The Motherwell defender then joined in on the attack and fired in a 25-yard shot which struck McBain.  

The pressure was on the visitors and after Fitzpatrick had passed to Clarkson he saw his shot also strike Dods before being cleared. However, it was the visitors who took the lead soon afterwards. Fitzpatrick saw his wayward header fall to Hart and he left Marshall helpless. Motherwell then had a shout for a penalty denied when Clarkson, who had raced upfield, was bundled over by a hefty Munro challenge inside the box. Inverness broke quickly with Hart supplying McBain but his effort was wild to say the least. The Fir Parkers were struggling to create anything of note, and again it was the visitors who looked sharper. From a free kick Hart found Bayne but his header could not beat Marshall in goals. Marc Fitzpatrick was having a torrid afternoon, and his slip gave a corner to the visitors, though again Marshall was commanding. Jim Paterson tried to take play forward though he was unceremoniously barged off the ball outside the box. Not according to Referee Toner who waved play on, ignoring Dods obvious foul. Again the Inverness side broke, Juanjo combined with Hart who couldn't keep his shot down. Despite this, Motherwell could and should have levelled on the half-hour. Corrigan played in a terrific cross which Paterson nodded in the direction of Foran. Normally dependable, the Irishman could not keep the header on target and it went over. Foran was then subject of a bad tackle from the back by Golabek to which there was only the award of a free kick. This was cleared, and again the visitors looked likelier.  After Golabek had fired over, his team took a two-goal advantage. A defensive mix-up in the Motherwell box gave Bayne the perfect opportunity to score despite Corrigan's efforts. And just before the interval, Duncan had a chance but saw his shot held by Marshall. 

Half Time     Motherwell  0     Inverness CT  2 

A hand ball by Dods gave Motherwell a free kick near the box early on in the second half, and although Dods again erred to concede a corner, McBain cleared.  A minute later the game could well have been all over bar some fantastic goalkeeping by Gordon Marshall. Hart pounced on a loose pass to advance on Marshall but the home custodian produced a superb save at the expense of a corner. Motherwell recovered, and attacked. Corrigan's pass found Clarkson and his header fell for Leitch to drive wide from outside the box. After Fitzpatrick had forced a corner the ball again fell to Leitch but he was no more accurate with this shot either. Kevin McBride was then the subject of a rash Tokely foul near the corner flag but Motherwell failed to make it count. Once again Juanjo fell in an attempt to gain a free kick and as the Referee waved play on it's a wonder there was no card produced, or perhaps not. There was a booking for McBain when he tripped McBride in full flight. After an hour's play, Motherwell brought on Paul Quinn for Phil O'Donnell. This had almost an immediate effect, as the Fir Parkers hauled themselves back into proceedings.  Richie Foran did exceptionally well to turn his marker inside out before unleashing a shot which Brown could only parry, and there was Clarkson to ram the ball home. The two-goal advantage Inverness had enjoyed was almost restored when Hart sent in a rasping shot from the edge of the box though Marshall did well to tip the ball over.  

Motherwell broke forward, Paterson to Foran and in turn in the direction of Clarkson. Although Hart won the ball he was quickly dispossessed by Clarkson though somehow unfairly in the eyes of Referee Toner. Paterson then sent in a testing ball which Brown plucked under pressure. Although it was mainly Motherwell now, the visitors could not be discounted. A slip from Corrigan gave McBain the opportunity to test Marshall but he gathered at the second attempt.  The visitors then made a change, Bayne for Wilson. And a minute later, Golabek was booked for dissent. Hart should have joined him in the book for a foul on Paterson, but form the free kick Clarkson dispossessed Golabek and raced into the box. Challenged by McBain there were shouts for a penalty but play continued.  

There was a nasty moment when McBain appeared to stamp on McBride as he lay on the ground in front of the East Stand, but it did look accidental and there was no stoppage in play. With ten minutes to go, the game's major talking point came. Foran looked to have had the legs taken from him inside the box but there was no penalty given. As the ball broke Clarkson gathered just as Brown appeared to take the legs from him too. With the home fans screaming for a penalty Referee Toner showed Clarkson a yellow for an alleged dive. Clarkson was furious, and this was his downfall as Toner quickly produced another yellow and sent Clarkson off. There was further anger for the Motherwell fans when Paterson was sent flying by Duncan with no free kick. And it got worse, a minute later Golabek clearly slapped Foran and what should have been a straight red became play on. Scott Leitch was booked for a mis-timed tackle on Wilson as the man-in-the-middle lost the place completely. Quinn then was hacked down by Hart with the resultant free kick headed wide by O'Donnell, this after McBain had been replaced by Hastings. There was the unusual sight of Gordon Marshall joining a corner kick in the last minute but it came to nothing and the long, winning run came to an end. 

Full Time     Motherwell  1     Inverness CT  2

Match Report by Ricky Mullen