Kilmarnock 2, Motherwell 0

Match Date: Saturday, January 15 2005
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 5,225.
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Quinn, Craigan, Partridge, Hammell, McBride, Corrigan, Leitch (Fagan 79), Foran (Fitzpatrick 59), Clarkson (Wright 85), McDonald. 
Subs not used: Corr, Kinniburgh, Higgins, Smith.

Booked: Leitch, McBride.


Kilmarnock  2     Motherwell  0 

DESITE A VASTLY IMPROVED PERFORMANCE, The same old failings came back to ensure Motherwell again left Rugby Park empty-handed. Both sides had their chances, but the Fir Parkers' glaring misses, added to by some gift-wrapped defending, meant another miserable trip to Ayrshire. 

The fans in the stadium had barely taken their seats when some dreadful defending by the visitors gave the Rugby Park side a very early lead. McDonald drifted past Hammel before crossing towards the back post. The unmarked Nish found the similarly free Boyd and he had an easy task to score from close-range.  Within a minute, however, it should have been one-a-piece. After Hay had tripped McBride, the free kick was dropped by Combe but Clarkson failed to get the ball past Ford who blocked the shot. Scott McDonald then passed to Foran but his turn and shot went wide from 20 yards out. Goalscorer Boyd was fortunate not to be booked when he connected with Craigan with his flailing arms. McDonald again was on hand to force an attack and after finding Clarkson he in turn was brought down by Lilley. Play failed to stop and although Clarkson recovered his cross was cleared. Only fine goalkeeping by Combe kept Motherwell out. McDonald ran onto a throw to fire in a shot which the home keeper was grateful to tip round the post. Hammel crossed deep and Combe was struggling to knock behind for a second. This time McBride found McDonald but his header drifted wide of the mark. The home side broke away themselves and from Ford's cross Quinn did well to deny Boyd. Kilmarnock man Dindeleux then sent McBride flying, but the free kick was wasted. Hesitancy in the home rearguard almost presented a leveller for Motherwell. Partridge played a long ball forward and as Lilley and Combe hesitated Corrigan nipped in but could not divert the ball goalwards. Motherwell were looking likelier, Hammel crossed and McDonald's flick on almost found Clarkson.  

Visiting centre-half Craigan was adjudged to have fouled Nish, but the Motherwell defence dealt with the free kick. There was almost an own goal in favour of Motherwell soon afterwards. Quinn played McBride wide and he played a superb ballot McDonald. Electing to find Clarkson instead of shooting Ford intercepted and narrowly turned the ball behind, though a shot from McDonald might have produced dividends. Ford again was in the thick of things, this time catching Foran from the back. Foran got up to head the resultant free kick wide. Within a minute Foran slipped up at the back to allow Boyd a shot on goals but Corrigan did superbly to deny at the expense of a corner. The Motherwell defence then combined to almost bring an equaliser. Corrigan and Hammel played a part in finding Clarkson but his cross was intercepted on its way to McDonald and knocked behind. Craigan rose highest but his header was superbly tipped over. Fantastic skill from McBride took him into space but as the ball came back to Hammel he lobed over. Again the Fir Parkers looked more dangerous, and McDonald was unlucky to see his turn and shot fall into the arms of Combe. Former Swindon man Invincible should have been booked when he clattered into Craigan. Against the run of play the home side should have doubled their advantage. Nish pounced on another defensive slip to set up Naismith but his dreadful miss from six yards kept the Fir Parkers in the hunt.  Another corner for the Motherwell side saw McDonald blocked out and Foran unable to beat Combe. Motherwell failed to learn from their earlier defensive slips, and after McDonald failed to send a free header beyond Marshall, Boyd eased past Craigan to score for the second just moments from the break. 

Half Time     Kilmarnock  2     Motherwell  0 

Determined not to start the second half the way they had started and finished the first, Motherwell came out on the attack. Good Clarkson work sent McBride wide but his cross was hooked away. Quinn then did well to set Corrigan up for a cross and that gave McDonald the opportunity to shoot. Unfortunately for the Aussie his effort struck the side netting and not the other side of the mesh.  An early change for the home side had the ever popular with the away support Locke replacing the injured Leven. Not having the best of days, Stevie Craigan again conceded play to the home side with a corner the end result. Marshall palmed behind, and Partridge hooked the second well clear. McDonald, like last week, was receiving very rough treatment from the home players. Lilley flattened the striker but wasn't booked. The free kick, however, led to a corner as Foran passed for Clarkson to knock the ball off Hay. It was cleared, but minutes later Motherwell could and perhaps should have pulled a goal back.  Dindeleux failed to cut out a ball in midfield and McDonald raced clear of the pack. Drawing Combe from goal the striker clipped the ball past the keeper but also wide of the far post. Keeping Motherwell in things was Marshall, and he saved superbly form an Invincible snapshot. Fitzpatrick replaced out-of-form Foran soon afterwards. A sandwich involving Partridge and Craigan then stopped the progress of Nish, and from the free kick Hammel dealt comfortably. Poorer defending by Motherwell then gave Nish a chance but he failed to beat the alert Marshall. If Naismith's miss earlier was bad, then David Clarkson was guilty of the miss-of-the-match a minute later. Quinn broke upfield from the middle of the park and finding McDonald he in turn set up Clarkson. Clear on Combe, instead of an instant shot, he decided to take the ball rather unnecessarily round the keeper and found himself so wide he could only shoot into the side netting.  

Referee Murray then failed to follow the rules when not booking Nish as he kicked the ball away after conceding a free kick. Stevie Craigan met the ball as it came in and wasn't far away with his header. Boyd was booked a minute afterwards when he stupidly tugged McBride back. Good work from Quinn then forced a corner, and as play went upfield a shocking tackle from Locke had McDonald in agony and earned the aptly named Rugby Park man a yellow card. After Corrigan had dealt effectively with a Hay cross, the home support were up in anger when Partridge wasn't booked after brining down Naismith. Boyd had his shot blocked behind, and again moments later before seeing his header from the corner held. This was a short-lived spell of home pressure, ended when Nish saw his mis-hit deflect of Craigan into the arms of Marshall. Captain Scott Leitch then left to be replaced by Sean Fagan. Clever skill from McDonald took him into space but his shot had the sting taken out by a deflection off Lilley and Combe gathered. Motherwell then rightly were awarded a free kick after the linesman spotted a free kick after Dindeleux had fouled McDonald, though Referee Murray, despite being well up with play, initially thought otherwise. Hammel curled the ball off the wall and away. Kevin McBride was then booked for dissent, but opposing midfielder Locke should have seen red when his terrible tackle floored Clarkson. McBride curled this one narrowly over the bar. It was Clarkson's last involvement and he was soon replaced by Wright, with Naismith making way for Johnston for the home side. The last action fell to Motherwell, but both Corrigan and Wright saw their efforts desperately blocked and hooked to safety. 

Full time     Kilmarnock  2     Motherwell  0

Match Report by Ricky Mullen