Motherwell 0 – 0 Kilmarnock
Kris Jack at Fir Park
Motherwell and Kilmarnock had to settle for a share of the spoils from an entertaining affair, as Saturday’s lunchtime kick off ended 0-0.
Finnish goalkeeper Anssi Jaakola kept his side in it with a string of punches, flaps and saves to keep Motherwell’s frontline at bay.
But Paul Heffernan also had chances to win it for Kilmarnock, but failed to produce anything to breach the Well defence, despite opportunities for the nine-goal frontman.
As expected, Stuart McCall named an unchanged starting XI from the win at Hibernian, and indeed the previous four matches to that.
Shaun Hutchinson took a seat on the bench for the first time since being injured at Celtic Park while Tom Bradley replaced Lee Hollis as back-up goalkeeper.
Kenny Shiels also stuck with the same Kilmarnock side that grabbed a draw from the jaws of victory in their 3-3 thriller with Celtic last week.
Both sides attitude to free flowing football had been praised to the hilt this season, so a certain level of spectacle would have been hoped for by those in attendance, watching at home or listening to the live broadcast on MFC TV.
The 12:45 kick off brought with it a biting chill, with those who opted for their armchairs certainly being kept warmer than anyone inside Fir Park.
Nicky Law and Jamie Murphy tried to heat the crowd up after two minutes, when the young forward got to the bye-line, but his cross across along the six-yard box evaded Michael Higdon.
Gary Harkins then shot straight at Darren Randolph from a well-worked free kick, drawn from a Jennings foul.
Chris Humphrey and Tim Clancy earned corners for the ‘Well, with the second causing a game of pinball in the box. Keith Lasley, then Humphrey had efforts blocked, as Killie struggled to cope with the early pace of the hosts.
Humphrey almost broke the deadlock on 14 minutes. A lofted ball from Stevie Hammell was brilliantly controlled on the chest by the Jamaican. He composed himself and shot low across the keeper, only for Jaakola to pull off a great save.
Kilmarnock were being kept to passing and shooting from distance, with no real bite to their attacks.
Michael Higdon almost put ‘Well in front when he shrugged off his marker in the box and worked the space for a shot. But he fired in to the side netting. A few moments later, a Hammell free kick was palmed out by Jaakola, who again had to look lively to react to Tom Hateley’s inswinging corner.
Kilmarnock tried to come back in to the game with James Fowler driving wide when he should have tested Randolph. Paul Heffernan was then robbed of a shot at goal by a last ditch tackle from Hammell.
Heffernan then hit the post from Shiels pass, before Tim Clancy cleared, as Killie threatened to piece together a spell of pressure.
Manual Pascali had the ball in the net from a wicked set piece, but the goal was rightly chalked off for his use of Craigan for leverage.
In response, Motherwell went up the other end, and only a block by Pascali stopped Jamie Murphy’s bullet header from going on target.
As the second half began Heffernan went close for Killie when he beat Law to the bye-line, but his cross was easily cut out by Randolph. Law then had Jaakola flapping at a dinked cross from a similar position.
The impressive Anssi Jaakola was on hand moments later to prevent a brilliant team goal, not once but twice. A four man move with Law, Lasley, Jennings and Higdon, ended with Higdon playing in Jennings with a lovely back heel. His half volley stung the Finn’s hands, as did Higdon’s blasted follow- up.
Tom Hateley was next to have a pop, when he cut in from the right on to his left foot, but curled his effort just wide.
Liam Kelly shot wastefully over the bar as both sides probed for a late goal.
A magnificent sliding tackle by Steve Jennings was all that prevented Heffernan scoring the vital goal. The Killie danger-man evaded two challenges at the edge of the box, and just as he was about to pull the trigger, the Liverpudlian midfielder threw himself in to the striker’s path, blocking the shot.
Jennings was soon threatening at the other end, blazing over form a poorly cleared corner, before Law’s deep cross from the left was hit too long.
Nicky Law tried in earnest to conjure a last minute winner for the Well, but his cross was blocked out for a throw in, the last act of the game.
Motherwell remain four points clear of Celtic after the Fir Park stalemate, meaning they stay 2nd in the SPL for at least another week.
Kris Jack at Fir Park
Full Time – 0-0! Once again, the similar styles of McCall and Shiels teams produces a stalemate.
90mins – One minute of added on time.
88mins – Keith Lasley gets fouled and Man of the Match at the exact same moment.
85mins – Poor corner cleared to Jennings who loops his shot wide. Anyone for some last minute drama?
85mins – a surging Hateley run ends with another cross in to 6 yard area, with no one going front post for it. Next passage earns a corner.
84mins – Kelly booked for hauling back Hateley, Daley wins corner with pace, Dayton on for Harkins.
77mins – Randolph does well to stop Shiels with his legs, after the former Hibs man ventured in to the box.
67mins – Pascali blooters ball in to South stand again from free kick. Humphrey and Murphy off, McHugh and Daley on.
66mins – Craigan booked for foul on edge of box. Killie broke form loose Murphy pass, Craggs couldn’t get out the way…
Attendance – 4184 not bad for a TV game. Thanks for coming folks!
61mins – Heffernan shoots right down Randolph’s throat form 18 yards. Bread and butter save.
60mins – A long ball form Hammell, has Murphy stretching to get on end of it, but he’s just too short.
59mins – Pascali blooters a shot somewhere in to the South Stand form about 35 yards. Waste!
56mins – Hateley cuts in from right on to his left to curl a shot just wide form 18 yards.
53mins – Jaakola makes 2 terrific stops from Jennings and Higdon to stop Well taking lead. Great build up to Jenno’s shot, watch it on MFC TV
50mins – Heffernan beats Law to the byline but cross is gathered by Randolph.
49mins – From free kick, Well break through Murphy, but he takes a touch to much in the box.
48mins – Keith Lasley booked for foul on Pursehouse.
47mins – Clancy heads cross out for corner, Humphrey breaks away but is too fast for team mates and attack peters out.
46mins – This game is very reminiscent of Rugby Park in August, minus the sky splitting sunshine. Good play but no edge as yet from both teams.
46mins – Higdon fouls Pascali on halfway with a forearm to the face. Unintentional obviously.
45mins – The teams re-emerge for the second half. 45 minutes for Well to make it count and go 4 points behind Rangers and 6 ahead of Celtic.
HT: Correction! Pascali fouled Craigan and had goal disallowed for Killie. The wonders of television replays eh?
HT: Nicky Law seems to be the fan favourite today; all the #motherwellmessi is missing is the goals of his Argentinean muse.
Half Time 0-0. Not a classic, but both teams having a go. How are all you Twitterati enjoying it? #WellvKillie
43mins – Jamie Murphy heads wide via deflection from Hateley’s cross. Higdon heads wide from resulting corner.
42mins – Clancy does well to head behind from Pursehouse cross. Kilmarnock Goal disallowed from corner for pushing.
39mins -Killie Free kick 25 yards out is blasted right in to wall. Numbering on Kilmarnock shirts is very hard to make out so apologies.
39mins – Jaakola finally catches a ball, when Murphy’s cross form the right bounces in to his arms. Other end Hammell gives away a free kick.
37mins – Heffernan hits the base of the post with Randolph rooted. Closest effort to a goal yet
35mins – From corner, Humphrey bursts away, but his cross is knocked out for corner
34mins – A great last ditch tackle from hammell prevents Heffernan form pulling the trigger.
33mins – James Fowler strides forward unchallenged but hits a daisy cutter well wide of Randolph. 1st real effort for Killie.
30mins – A succession of corners and crosses fails to provide the opening goal, but it feels like it could be coming soon #jinxedit
28mins – From corner, Hateley has Jaakola clawing the ball out from under bar, Craigan’s header falls on top of net. Getting closer…
27mins – Law draws foul on Main Stand wing. Hammell free kick looks to pick out Higdon, but Jaakola tips round for corner.
25mins – Higdon holds off his marker to earn space in the box, but fires hard in to side netting. Close form the big man. #handsupforhiggy
23mins – Liam Kelly free kick floats wide form distance with no takers in box.
20mins – Foul on Jennings by McKeown. Hammell free kick headed back across goal, ends up back with Hammell crossing, Murphy fouls back post.
20mins – Gone so far Well fans, who has been the standout player? #WellvKillie
19mins – The shaky start seems to have switched to Kilmarnock now, as they are misplacing passes all over the shop.
17mins – Harkin’s deft cross is too clever for Heffernan and sails comfortably wide.
14mins – Humphrey forces Jaakola in to a vital stop, bringing Hammell’s ball down on his chest before lashing it towards the bottom corner.
12mins – Hammell and Law combine to send Law down the left. His low cross is poked out for a corner.
11mins – Humphrey sends Murphy scampering on goal, but Sissoko thwarts him.
8mins – Humphrey then Clancy win corners, second win causes pinball in box, before Kilmarnock clear lines.
7mins – Motherwell need to settle it a bit, some slack passes causing groans amongst the fans.
5mins. Tim Clancy makes an excellent block and clearance only for Jennings to foul. From free kick, Harkins gets a shot in at Randolph.
2mins – Law sends Murphy down the left, but his ball in to corridor of uncertainty, evades the onrushing Higdon.
1min – The teams are out, showing their Red Cards to Racism, Well back to the Claret and Amber for today’s game. COME ON YE WELL!!
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“I thought we started really well, got in behind them and got balls in across the face. We had a couple of chances.
“They came back into it and Harkins hit the post. The second half, we weren’t at our best, there is no doubt about that. But we can’t be at our best week in, week out.
“I was delighted with the way we defended. Although they had a lot of possession we snuffed it out and big Daz (Darren Randolph) hasn’t had a lot to do. I said before the game they are a good side, you don’t score three goals against Celtic if you’re not. I think a draw was a fair result, there is no doubt about that.
“The only disappointing thing, we had a lot of set plays and we’ve been good at them recently, but the final ball wasn’t as good as we would have hoped, in the second half anyway.”
Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels:
“It’s another draw that we needed to turn into a victory.
“We came, as we always do, to win the game with an attacking philosophy and it didn’t happen for us again.
“I’d like to get my emotions balanced because I’m really disappointed for the players and supporters because yet again we got it tactically right.
“We took the football out of Motherwell – their quality was reduced because they had to change from invention and creativity to playing a little bit more direct and trying to get in behind our young full-backs.
“That’s an option they chose, I’m not being critical. It was testament to how we kept the ball and our invention and creativity was prevalent again.”
|Darren Randolph||Anssi Jaakkola|
|Stevie Hammell||James Fowler|
|Nicky Law||Liam Kelly|
|Stephen Craigan||Danny Buijs|
|Tom Hateley||Gary Harkins (85)|
|(69) Chris Humphrey||Paul Heffernan|
|Steve Jennings||Dean Shiels|
|Michael Higdon||Rory McKeown|
|(69) Jamie Murphy||Alex Pursehouse|
|Keith Lasley||Manuel Pascali|
|Tim Clancy||Mahamadou Sissoko|
|Lee Hollis||Kyle Letheren|
|Shaun Hutchinson||Garry Hay|
|(69) Bob McHugh||David Silva|
|(69) Omar Daley||James Dayton (85)|
|Ross Forbes||Zdeněk Kroča|
|Jon Page||Danny Racchi|
|Stuart Carswell||Gary Fisher|
|5||Shots on target||7|
|4||Shots off target||7|
|Referee: Craig Thomson|