Motherwell 4, Dundee Utd 2

Match Date: Saturday, September 18 2004
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Attendance: 5,091
Motherwell Team (4-4-2):

Marshall, Corrigan, Craigan, Hammell, McBride, Leitch (Fagan 48), O'Donnell, Foran (Paterson 87), Clarkson, McDonald (Burns 83). Subs not used: Corr, Partridge, Quinn, Wright.

Motherwell scorers: McDonald (53, 70), Clarkson (57), Burns (90).

Booked: none.


Motherwell  4     Dundee United  2 

INSPIRED SCOTT MCDONALD SLAYED The visitors today with a terrific double and a fine all round performance at Fir Park. Not just McDonald, though, as the entire team had a fantastic second half to send Motherwell up to third. 

The visitors put in the first attack, Wilson crossing for Kerr to get in a header though Kinniburgh was there to clear. Foran and Hammell combined well to get a low cross in though the ball, zipping across the penalty area, failed to meet any contact. Brebner was lucky not to see yellow when he rather petulantly kicked the ball away after a conceding a free kick. Foran headed the ball across but the ball was clear. Leitch then found Clarkson whose knock down saw McDonald drive a shot narrowly past the upright. What looked like a foul by Innes on Clarkson became a throw in with Referee Brines somehow deciding there was no infringement. Foran was forced to concede a corner though a foul on Marshall ended the danger. A clear sandwich on McDonald by Innes and Kerr had the Motherwell man on the ground outside the box but again there was no foul. A minute later Grady saw yellow for delivering pleasantries towards the linesman.  Scott Leitch sent McBride wide soon after and his dangerous low ball, needing only a touch, went harmlessly wide of target. Brebner again failed to see yellow when a trip saw McDonald sprawled out on the turf. A collision between visiting Keeper Bullock and Clarkson, chasing a Hammell through ball, saw the United man down injured with a facial knock. However, he was able to recover after lengthy treatment from his physio.  

A two-footed challenge from Kerr had Foran in pain but play continued. Innes then hauled O'Donnell down with a free kick being awarded, Referee Brines deciding that Kerr was guilty of a bookable offence though the card was yellow when it could easily have been red. Kinniburgh met the knock down but under pressure could only turn and drive over the bar. O'Donnell then did well to make the by line and his driven cross found no connection as it flew across the six-yard box. The visitors gained a free kick when McBride was adjudged to have fouled Robson. Wilson took the free kick but sent it over the bar. The visitors remained upfield though McIntyre's cross was cleared. Robson then took the ball to the by line and his cross was cleared away by Craigan. Motherwell broke away with Hammell finding Clarkson and as the striker beat McCracken he also beat the post with a curling shot, McDonald to his left in space awaiting a pass. Again Motherwell came close, McBride and Clarkson playing a clever one-two to open up the defence but the shot curling wide. The Fir Parkers were ending the half on top, but, as so often happens, they were hit by a sucker punch. Well into injury time a hopeful punt forward looked to be easily dealt with by Hammell. Unfortunately he lost his footing giving Grady the easiest of chances to score and put his side ahead against the run of play. 

Half Time     Motherwell  0     Dundee United  1 

Motherwell attempted immediately to level, Archibald arriving just in the nick of time to clear as O'Donnell tried to find McBride. Captain Scott Leitch, clearly suffering a shoulder knock, then had to be replaced by Sean Fagan. A cross from Brebner then saw Grady head well wide, and slack defensive play from Motherwell almost gifted the visitors a second moments later. Grady found McIntyre with a cross but despite being in space some 10 yards out he failed to even trouble Marshall in goals. That miss was to haunt United heavily as they were quickly pegged back within minutes. Phil O'Donnell sent in a superb cross which Scott McDonald, in plenty of space, aimed an inch-perfect header beyond Bullock for the equaliser. And it was to become even better for Motherwell a couple of minutes afterwards. McBride showed terrific skill to drive into the box and his fierce shot was parried by Bullock into the path of Clarkson who drove home from around 6 yards. Martyn Corrigan then made a terrific run which took him into the box but he was blocked by Archibald, with a follow-up from McBride driven off McCracken. Visiting Keeper Bullock then signalled to his bench with an injury, and he was replaced by Hirschfeld. He was instantly called into action, clutching the ball narrowly before Clarkson met a cross from McBride. Teammate Foran was then unfortunate to be penalised for handball when an awkward bounce took it onto his arm as he went clear in the box. Then inconsistency of Referee Brines was evident a minute later when a handball by Brebner went unpunished. Corrigan regained possession and sent McDonald clear but a poor offside from the linesman halted his progress. Foran was adjudged to foul Brebner though Marshall held the free kick when driven in. McInnes then made way for McLaren, and within seconds his team were level. Robson flighted a free kick in with Innes, looking to have fouled Craigan, was able to knock down to McIntyre who volleyed into the net.  

Many a team would have buckled, but not Motherwell. They immediately went right up the park to regain the lead they had fought so hard to obtain in the first place. Scott McDonald, having a terrific match, sprinted past the United defence to slip the ball past Hirschfield and into the empty net. A further visiting change had Grady replaced by Scotland. The visiting keeper then had to look sharp to prevent Clarkson meeting McDonald's pass. A body check on McDonald then saw Innes booked with the Motherwell man needing treatment.  Keeping up the pressure, Motherwell won a corner which was met by Craigan though Hirschfeld cleared partially. More pressure ensued but somehow the visitors kept the deficit to just one. Clarkson burst into the box but delayed long enough to be dispossessed. There was a slight scare at the other end when Marshall failed to gather a free kick but Corrigan was on hand to clear. McLaren then forced a corner though again the defence dealt with it, Hammell this time on hand. United were attempting to get back into the match, Marshall parrying a Robson shot with the keeper holding at the second attempt. Clarkson was fouled by Innes though the free kick came to nothing. Scott McDonald was then replaced by Alex Burns, leaving to a rapturous round of applause. Fabulous skill from McBride saw him jink into the box and he was very unlucky to see the shot go the wrong side of the far post. Former United man Jim Paterson came on in place of Richie Foran seconds later. Motherwell almost made it four when McBride expertly sent Burns clear but his shot was well blocked by Hirschfeld. However, Burns was not to be denied and in injury time he did score. Paterson burst through the middle sending the ball wide for Clarkson. Looking up, his inch-perfect cross was bulleted home Burns to put the seal on a fantastic comeback. 

Full time     Motherwell  4     Dundee United  2

Match Report by Ricky Mullen