Motherwell 2, Livingston 0

Match Date: Saturday, December 11 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 4,363.
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Corrigan, Craigan, Partridge, Fitzpatrick, Leitch, O'Donnell, McBride, Paterson, Clarkson, Foran (Wright 84).  
Subs Not Used: Burns, Corr, Cowan, Paul Quinn, Fagan, Keogh.

Motherwell scorers: O'Donnell (17), Foran (47)

Booked: none.


Motherwell  2     Livingston  0 

MOTHERWELL TOOK THEIR WINNING RUN TO SIX With this relatively trouble-free third successive win over the visitors. Rarely did Livingston threaten despite having spells of possession, and it was the Fir Parkers took a comfortable three points. 

Motherwell won an early corner when Foran met Corrigan's ball forward and forced Dorado to knock behind, though the corner was swept downfield. Rubio, always favourite for a yellow card, escaped on this occasion after his tackle from the back was deemed not bookable by Referee Ritchie with the recipient, Clarkson, hobbling away. The first chance for the visitors arrived when Craigan's header back fell for Lilley and his looping effort was easily held by Marshall. Livingston gained a corner themselves, McBride blocking Lilley, and as it came in Dorado headed on for Hamilton but as Marshall raced out he could only head over. Another corner arrived almost immediately at the other end, though Foran's header was cleared by Stanic. A trip by Easton on Paterson gave Motherwell a free kick but again the visiting defence dealt with the ball in.  Play was fairly even at this point, and it was the turn of the visitors to have a pop at goal when O'Brien met a cross from Adams to fire over form 20 yards out. Motherwell, however, took the lead shortly afterwards. Rubio body-checked Foran near the East Stand side corner-flay, and although the ball in was partially blocked it fell to O'Donnell. On the angle of the box he drove through a ruck of players and beyond McKenzie into the net, the ball taking a slight deflection on the way. The response from Livingston was a flick on from Hamilton to Lilley but there was Fitzpatrick to deal with it. Jim Paterson broke forward and found Clarkson but he delayed and was crowded out.  Fitzpatrick was adjudged to have fouled Hamilton wide on the right and a free kick was given. Cleared to Easton, he played the ball back in but this time Leitch hooked away.  

Corrigan then blocked a cross from Adams for a corner which, when whipped in, was met by Easton but his header saw Marshall produce a fantastic save, parrying to his right before gathering with Hamilton arriving a half-hour late and sticking in an unnecessary leg. Motherwell attacked with Paterson playing Clarkson wide. Crossed in, the ball fell agonisingly beyond Paterson and as the ball came back Clarkson was adjudged, harshly, to have fouled Dorado. The Fir Parkers had a penalty shout turned down when Dorado was all over Clarkson as they challenged for a Foran ball. Clarkson was then the recipient of a clumsy challenge from Easton. No card there, nor for the clear dissent shown by Dorado. From the free kick hesitant defending allowed Leitch to fire in a rasping shot, which McKenzie did well to hold. A minute or so later Referee Ritchie ignored a Hamilton kick as he and McBride challenged for a ball. Motherwell had a fortunate escape when Marshall's kick clattered off the bulky frame of Hamilton though the ball spun wide of goal with Marshall confident of its path. Stanic conceded a free kick when he pushed Foran, though his defensive partner Rubio cleared. Motherwell were beginning to assert control and Foran combined with O'Donnell to set up Leitch who shot wide. Although Livingston won a corner this was dealt with easily enough by Foran. A very late, and somewhat dubious, off-side decision then denied Paterson who raced through onto a McBride chip forward. Just before the interval McKenzie had to race from goal to deny Clarkson who looked favourite to win the ball. 

Half Time     Motherwell  1     Livingston  0 

Livingston had barely any time to re-adjust before finding themselves almost immediately two goals behind. Paterson played a fantastic ball through for Foran and although he saw his initial rasper parried by McKenzie, with the visiting defence somewhat static, Foran did superbly well to score from a tight angle and effectively end the contest. The visitors tried to respond and won a corner after a free kick had came in. Cleared, Motherwell pushed forward and were awarded a corner of their own. This, however, was hooked away downfield by Dorado. The Referee angered the Motherwell fans and players alike when giving a free kick soon afterwards. Corrigan was clearly fouled by Stanic but had regained possession and indeed the advantage, though somehow Referee Ritchie decided otherwise. Former Fir Parker Dair should have seen yellow for a bad challenge on Fitzpatrick but the only movement from the Referee was to give a free kick. Blocked as far as Leitch, he drove a shot in but this was also charged down. The visitors made a double change when Adams and Easton were replaced by Snowdon and McPake respectively. Jim Paterson burst forward and found Clarkson but again the young striker quickly found himself surrounded by several defenders and was dispossessed. Motherwell kept up the pressure and should have had a free kick when Clarkson was clearly body checked by Stanic, somehow not so in the eyes of Referee Ritchie. A neat one-two between McBride and Corrigan won a corner. Craigan met this full on but saw his net-bound header strike Dorado before being cleared. Despite being well ahead Motherwell had to be alert at the back. Craigan was, dealing effectively with a cross from Lilley as McPake hovered.  

Referee Ritchie then declined to book McPake who should have seen a yellow for a ridiculously high challenge on Craigan. Rubio was at last booked and he was fortunate it was only yellow for a terrible challenge on Clarkson. From the free kick Jim Paterson got in a header though it was defended. Clarkson was then again the subject of a bad tackle, this time from Dorado, and this time he was also booked. O'Brien should have joined him in the book as he left McBride in pain. As the free kick came in the ball fell to Partridge and he met it perfectly only to see McKenzie make a fantastic save to parry clear. Phil O'Donnell then broke up towards the box before finding Leitch but he slipped a shot wide. A third visiting change saw Lovell replaced by Brittain. Sublime skill from Kevin McBride took him past Stanic but he saw a low cross cleared.  Motherwell then made a change, Richie Foran leaving to a rapturous round of applause before being replaced by Kenny Wright. Teammate Corrigan forced a corner though the effort from Partridge this time was over. With time running out, the alert Gordon Marshall ensured he'd have another clean sheet to add to his collection. O'Brien fired in a low cross from the left which Hamilton met but he found Marshall in no mood to be beaten producing a great save. Just before the final whistle Wright set up Clarkson on the six-yard box but he drove over under heavy pressure.  

Full time     Motherwell  2     Livingston  0

Match Report by Ricky Mullen