Pictures from the 3-1 victory over St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park. These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.
Pictures from the 3-1 victory over St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park. These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.
Late goals from Tom Hateley and Jamie Murphy handed Motherwell their first home victory of the season against St Mirren.
Another draw looked on the cards for long spells after Gareth Wardlaw cancelled out Chris Humphrey’s early opener.
But Hateley converted a penalty three minutes from time and then Murphy netted moments later to seal a 3-1 win at Fir Park.
Manager Craig Brown named the same starting eleven for the third game in a row as his side looked to end their poor run at home.
And they made a perfect start as man of the moment Humphrey opened the scoring after only three minutes.
The winger pounced on a poor clearance by David Van Zanten 20 yards from goal and fired an unstoppable shot past Craig Samson into the far corner of the net.
It was a stunning strike by Humphrey, who started the game on the left-flank, as opposed to his usual right-wing position.
St Mirren’s early desperation was epitomised by the fact Michael Higdon could easily have been sent off after two scything tackles in the first ten minutes; both were undoubtedly bookable offences, but only one was punished with a caution.
Humphrey, having switched back to the right, was causing havoc again, as he deceived Jure Travnor and Paul McGowan before whipping a good ball in for Nick Blackman, who shot narrowly wide.
Motherwell were purring and were desperately unlucky not to double their advantage from a free-kick on 22 minutes. Hateley stepped up to curl in a super rasping effort but Samson pulled off a fantastic stop to tip the ball onto the bar.
Samson was warming up to the task of standing in for Paul Gallacher and he pulled off another smart save four minutes later, tipping a long range drive by Blackman wide of the post.
Despite the fact Motherwell should have been two or three up, St Mirren could have gone in at the break all square after coming into the game as the half wore on, and having two terrific chances to draw level.
With five minutes to go until the break Hugh Murray swung in a lovely deep free-kick which was headed temptingly across the face of goal by the towering Higdon – but somehow Gaeth Wardlaw nodded the ball wide from inside the six yard box.
Then, on the stroke of half-time Paul McGowan fired in a superb corner kick which was headed onto the crossbar by the dangerous Higdon.
An almighty scramble for the rebound resulted, with Stephen Craigan heroically clearing off the line amongst the melee, preserving ‘Well’s half time advantage.
Worryingly for Brown’s men St Mirren continued to press for an equliser in the second-half, and once again Higdon was proving a menace.
Some nice interplay five minutes into the second period saw Patrick Cregg released in the insider-right channel of the box and the former Hibs man floated a nice ball across the face of goal. Higdon looked favourite to nod it home before Craigan made a terrific blocking challenge.
Motherwell were dealt a blow on 54 minutes when defender Steven Saunders had to be stretchered off. Steven Hammell came on in his place – just back from injury himself.
Murphy offered some welcome respite for the host’s moments later as he cut in from the right flank and drove an effort into the grateful arms of Samson from the edge of the area.
The Scotland under-21 star was doing his very best to quell the black-and-wide tide all on his own, and he threatened again, absolutely blasting past John Potter on the left flank before firing the ball crisply across the goal from the by-line; but a Lee Mair interception was enough to deny the arriving Steve Jennings a great chance.
But even the enterprising Murphy couldn’t prevent St Mirren from claiming a deserved equiliser on 65 minutes.
The tricky Pul McGowan picked up on a poor defensive clearance by the home side 35 yards out and fed a beautiful ball through to Wardlaw. With the angle tightening, the former Cowdenbeath striker smashed the ball high into Randolph’s net at the near post.
It was a terrific goal, albeit aided by slack defending, and the least the adventurous visitors deserved.
Just after Wardlaw’s strike, the Steelmen could have been awarded a penalty as Blackman appeared to be barged off the ball as he challenged for a Hateley cross. Muted claims were waved away by referee Iain Brines and St Mirren continued to make the running in the proceeding spell.
The introduction of Alan Gow for Humphrey with 15 minutes still to play was intended to ignite Motherwell’s flagging challenge, and the creative attacker would go on to play a big part in the closing stages.
‘Well had done precious little to deserve the three points in the second-half, but in the space of two late minutes they secured the points with two quick-fire strikes.
The goal to allow Motherwell to retake the lead was a classic example of “shooting yourself in the foot” by the Saints. A poor van Zanten clearance ricocheted back towards Samson and, with Gow closing, the keeper slipped, prompting Lee Mair to make a panicked shove on Gow in the box.
Hateley stepped up and fired the resulting penalty into the bottom-left corner of Samson’s net to restore the lead.
And then, with St Mirren pushing forward, a long Mark Reynolds clearance set Gow haring through down the left, and he crossed perfectly for Murphy to fire home at the back post and seal a late win.
[tab:As it happened]
90+3′ FULL-TIME The final whistle is blown by the referee.
90+2 Ross Forbes is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Craig Samson.
90+1 Short corner taken by Nick Blackman from the left by-line.
88′ GOAL Jamie Murphy scores from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Assist by Alan Gow.
88′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Paul McGowan by Ross Forbes. Free kick taken by Hugh Murray.
87′ GOAL Tom Hateley scores from the penalty spot with a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner.
86′ BOOKING Lee Mair goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
86′ Penalty awarded for a foul by Lee Mair on Alan Gow.
84′ Corner taken left-footed by Ross Forbes, clearance by Lee Mair.
83′ David van Zanten challenges Nick Blackman unfairly and gives away a free kick. Shot comes in from Tom Hateley from the free kick, blocked by David van Zanten.
83′ Darren McGregor produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that goes harmlessly over the target.
82′ Unfair challenge on Hugh Murray by Alan Gow results in a free kick. Hugh Murray takes the direct free kick.
80′ Foul by Gareth Wardlaw on Darren Randolph, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Darren Randolph.
79′ BOOKING Caution for Gareth Wardlaw.
77′ Gareth Wardlaw is adjudged to have handled the ball. Darren Randolph takes the direct free kick.
76′ Stephen Craigan gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gareth Wardlaw. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Paul McGowan from left channel, Stephen Craigan makes a clearance.
76′ SUB Chris Humphrey leaves the field to be replaced by Alan Gow.
75′ Foul by Hugh Murray on Keith Lasley, free kick awarded. Ross Forbes takes the free kick.
74′ Stevie Hammell concedes a free kick for a foul on John Potter. Craig Samson restarts play with the free kick.
73′ Stephen Craigan fouled by Michael Higdon, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Stevie Hammell.
72′ Gareth Wardlaw produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that goes wide left of the target.
70′ SUB John Sutton goes off and Ross Forbes comes on.
70′ Effort from outside the penalty box by Paul McGowan goes wide right of the goal.
69′ Corner taken right-footed by Paul McGowan from the right by-line, Nick Blackman makes a clearance.
69′ Paul McGowan takes a shot. Craig Samson makes a save.
67′ Craig Samson restarts play with the free kick.
67′ BOOKING Caution for Steve Jennings.
67′ Steve Jennings gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Paul McGowan.
64′ GOAL – Gareth Wardlaw equalises from deep inside the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. Assist by Paul McGowan.
63′ Steve Jennings concedes a free kick for a foul on Gareth Wardlaw. Free kick crossed right-footed by Paul McGowan.
62′ Shot from 25 yards by John Sutton. Craig Samson makes a save.
59′ Effort on goal by Darren McGregor from a long way out goes over the bar.
58′ Jamie Murphy takes a shot. Save by Craig Samson.
58′ Lee Mair challenges John Sutton unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Nick Blackman.
57′ Lee Mair concedes a free kick for a foul on Jamie Murphy. Steve Jennings takes the free kick.
56′ Jamie Murphy has an effort at goal from 12 yards. Craig Samson makes a save.
55′ Patrick Cregg concedes a free kick for a foul on Steve Jennings. Steve Jennings restarts play with the free kick.
54′ SUB Stevie Hammell joins the action as a substitute, replacing Steven Saunders.
52′ Chris Humphrey concedes a free kick for a foul on Jure Travner. Jure Travner takes the free kick.
48′ Free kick awarded for a foul by Patrick Cregg on Nick Blackman. Free kick taken by Darren Randolph.
46′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jamie Murphy by Hugh Murray. Steven Saunders takes the direct free kick.
46′ KICK-OFF The second half begins.
45+1′ HALF-TIME The referee calls an end to the first half.
45+1′ Corner taken by Paul McGowan from the left by-line to the near post, Lee Mair takes a shot.
44′ Shot by Tom Hateley from outside the box goes high over the target.
42′ Foul by Darren McGregor on Nick Blackman, free kick awarded. Nick Blackman restarts play with the free kick.
40′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Chris Humphrey by Jure Travner. Stephen Craigan restarts play with the free kick.
39′ Close range headed effort by Gareth Wardlaw misses to the right of the goal.
39′ Foul by Keith Lasley on Paul McGowan, free kick awarded. Hugh Murray restarts play with the free kick.
36′ Effort from inside the area by Darren McGregor misses to the right of the goal.
35′ Free kick awarded for a foul by Jamie Murphy on Lee Mair. Craig Samson takes the direct free kick.
32′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stephen Craigan by Michael Higdon. Darren Randolph restarts play with the free kick.
32′ John Sutton gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Hugh Murray. John Potter restarts play with the free kick.
30′ Chris Humphrey takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, Unfair challenge on John Potter by Nick Blackman results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Craig Samson.
28′ Corner taken by Chris Humphrey from the left by-line, Michael Higdon makes a clearance.
28′ Keith Lasley takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Patrick Cregg gets a block in.
27′ Corner from left by-line taken by Chris Humphrey.
27′ Corner taken right-footed by Chris Humphrey from the right by-line, clearance made by Hugh Murray.
26′ Nick Blackman has a drilled shot. Save made by Craig Samson.
25′ Paul McGowan takes a shot from 12 yards. Save made by Darren Randolph.
22′ Unfair challenge on Tom Hateley by David van Zanten results in a free kick. Strike comes in from Tom Hateley from the free kick, save by Craig Samson.
21′ Effort from 18 yards by Chris Humphrey. Blocked by John Potter.
20′ Shot from just outside the area by Jamie Murphy misses to the right of the target.
16′ Free kick taken by Stephen Craigan.
16′ BOOKING The referee shows Hugh Murray a yellow card.
16′ Unfair challenge on Nick Blackman by Hugh Murray results in a free kick.
11′ Stephen Craigan takes the direct free kick.
11′ BOOKING Michael Higdon is booked.
11′ Michael Higdon gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Keith Lasley.
9′ Unfair challenge on Nick Blackman by Jure Travner results in a free kick. Stephen Craigan takes the direct free kick.
3′ GOAL Chris Humphrey finds the net with a goal from just outside the box to the right corner of the goal.
2′ Michael Higdon gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steve Jennings. Tom Hateley takes the direct free kick.
1′ Nick Blackman challenges Darren McGregor unfairly and gives away a free kick. Craig Samson restarts play with the free kick.
1′ Gareth Wardlaw takes a shot. Darren Randolph makes a save.
1′ KICK-OFF The match gets underway.
Motherwell boss Craig Brown:
“We scored two good goals out of the three, a good opening goal and a good second goal and in-between, we didn’t play at all.
“I thought we were very poor today in relation to the way we can play. The second-half performance was very poor in spite of the way we scored two goals at the end.
“I would’ve taken a draw and when we scored at the end, it was a little fortunate for us to win the match, which I think St Mirren deserved a point from.
“St Mirren scored a fine goal and they were back in the game. I felt they were up for it and they competed very, very well and they’re far from the poorest team that have been here this season.
“We genuinely were fortunate but we have good players and they know and I know they can play better than they played this afternoon.”
St Mirren manager Danny Lennon:
“I’m very frustrated. The players’ application, desire and willingness to make things happen was great. We tried to frustrate Motherwell and then hit on the break.
“We started to come into it and were very unfortunate not to come in level at half-time after hitting the bar.
“In the second-half I couldn’t have asked for any more, other than end product, as Michael Higdon and Gareth Wardlaw really competed well and caused problems.
“Gareth took his goal well and it was well-deserved; that gives us something to take away and build upon.”
Since our match against Aberdeen two weeks ago we’ve had two successful away games in which we have not conceded a goal.
It was pleasing to get through the Co-operative Insurance Cup match against Brechin, although I must concede that Jim Weir’s side made it difficult for us. Last week, at Tynecastle, we played very efficiently and it was pleasing to beat Hearts for the third time in succession since Archie and I have been in charge at Motherwell.
A particularly positive aspect of our two performances was the superb support we had from our loyal band of travelling fans. Particularly last week in the Capital, the encouragement of our young team was superb and all of us are extremely grateful.
It has always been a bone of contention of mine that injured players get mentioned more than those who turn out every single week. However, I do have sympathy for our long-term injured guys like Marc Fitzpatrick and Shaun Hutchinson. They have been working extremely hard to get themselves back in contention.
More recently, Stevie Hammell has missed the last couple of matches but we hope all three will be ready, if not today, then very soon indeed. To add to that, Esteban Casagolda had a knee operation just when he was beginning to show the exciting potential he undoubtedly has. We’ll need a full strength pool in the forthcoming weeks because we have an away match at Ibrox after the International break followed by three important home games, two against Dundee United and, of course, against our local rivals Hamilton Accies.
With arguably the smallest playing squad in the SPL; we have had to promote young lads very quickly. For our last two league matches we have had nine players, in our eighteen-man squad, who qualify for the Under 21 rule.
It is, of course, mandatory that three Under 21 players are listed and I’ve noticed that many teams are being forced to list relatively unknown youngsters to fulfil this requirement. We are fortunate that we can dip into an excellent Under 19 resource, as we did last week when adding Ross McKinnon and Stuart Carswell to the squad. In addition, young Tom Bradley gives us goalkeeping cover and last week we took sixteen-year-old Lee Erwin with us to Tynecastle.
I watched with pride as our Under 17s/Under 19s squad played in a memorial match in East Kilbride last Sunday for the late David Linning. The healthy crowd at the Showgrounds got a glimpse of the exciting young talent here at Motherwell.
Archie and I went to watch the Under 19s take on Kilmarnock at Kilwinning last Friday; again it was an exceptional performance with a 3-0 away victory. We are delighted to see Gordon Young has more promising talent in the pipeline.
Congratulations are due to a few of the lads, notably Chris Humphrey who has become a dad for the first time following the birth of his daughter Amelea. In addition, we all congratulate both Stevie Saunders and Jamie Murphy for the inclusion in the Scotland Under 21 squad for the play-off clash with Iceland; the second leg of which will take place at Easter Road a week on Monday. Stephen Craigan, as usual, will be a stalwart in the Northern Ireland defence in the qualification matches against Italy and the Faroe Islands.
A bit belatedly in this column, but very sincerely, I welcome Danny Lennon, the coaches and players, directors and supporters of St Mirren to Fir Park. In the evidence of what I have seen so far, Saints are in a false position with virtually nothing between the teams in the SPL.
I know, and have emphasised to the players, that we will have to be at our best to win the three points which we very much desire before the International break. It would be extremely pleasing to watch the European and World Champions at Hampden with the assurance of a comfortable league position!
Finally, I think it would be remiss of me not to refer to the criticism we have had for failing to attend the Co-operative Insurance Cup draw. Whilst it could be argued that someone from Motherwell should have been there, it has never been mentioned that I was only one of three managers, from sixteen, who attended the draw from the previous round.
I can assure you it is embarrassing to pose for picture after picture holding a Cup that hasn’t been won. But this I did too, at the request of the sponsors and, in addition, spent a couple of hours responding to media questions. There was no mention of that in any of the criticism which accompanied the more recent draw for the Quarter Finals.
As it turns out, we were drawn against Dundee United here at Fir Park and we do wish to make a positive impression in the competition and will continue to do our best to please our loyal, and on the evidence of last week, very vocal support.
Thank you and enjoy the match
A last minute goal from Jordan Brown denied the youth team a superb away win at Aberdeen today.
In a fairly even encounter, Motherwell took the lead with nine minutes remaining when Lee Erwin got on the end of a Josh Watt cross from the right to knock home in off the post.
That looked as if it was going to be enough to secure a win and, at the same time, inflict the Dons’ first defeat of the 2010/11 campaign.
However, a late strike from Brown gave the home side a share of the spoils and sent a dejected Motherwell side back to Lanarkshire wondering what might have been.
Aberdeen started the game well and after Joe Shaughnessy narrowly failed to connect from a corner on the right, Anthony Bolger went close with an excellent header from distance that prompted an equally tidy save from ‘Well keeper Tom Bradley.
However, as the half wore on, Motherwell began to get a firm grip on the game and Erwin came within inches of putting the Steelmen in front but Keiran McGachie’s cross, after a brilliant solo run, was just too far in front.
Neither side was able to break the deadlock before the interval though but it was Aberdeen again who got out the traps in the second-half and had a number of opportunities to take the lead.
Conor Devaney and Nico Gibson both had efforts but neither could trouble Bradley in the visiting goal. Defender Shaughnessy also had another header well saved by Bradley but ‘Well never really looked like they were going to concede.
Indeed, Erwin was causing problems for the home defence, seeing a header well saved by Lukasik in the home goal before curling a beautiful effort that scraped the outside as it went past.
However, the Scotland U17 hitman wasn’t to be denied and in the 81st minute he grabbed what looked like the winning goal. Josh Watt was the architect, causing mayhem down the right before hooking in a cracking cross that was turned in by the 16-year-old.
That looked to be that but late in injury time, Ryan Fraser managed to get to the byline before cutting it across the face for Brown, who equalised from clsoe range.
It was a sucker punch for the young Steelmen but a draw on reflection was probably a fair result.
Motherwell: Bradley, Sloan, Murray, Lynch, McKinnon, Carswell, Watt, McGachie (Trialist 75), Erwin, Pollock, Scanlan (Brown 86). Subs not used: Muir, Connor, Griffin.
Manager Craig Brown has pleaded with fans to halt the growing trend of bringing flares and smoke devises to Motherwell matches.
Following three consecutive SPL delegate reports highlighting the issue, the club are under threat of sanctions if it continues, not to mention the very real safety risk they pose to fellow fans, particularly those with breathing and respiratory problems.
Brown said: “I must first put on record my extreme thanks to all our supporters who have backed Archie and me, along with the team, so enthusiastically since we arrived at the club last December.
“However, in recent weeks, we have seen a steady and consistent rise in the number of flares and smoke devises at our games, both at Fir Park and on our travels.
“This has given the club a real headache with the authorities, not to mention the potential safety risks it poses to people inside the stadium.
“I would ask our fans not to bring anything like this with them to games and, instead, concentrate all energies on singing, chanting and clapping for the team which will have a much more positive impact.”
The club will once again be holding its annual October Holiday Soccer School between Monday 11th – Friday 15th October.
Boys and girls between the age of 3 and 16 can develop their football skills in a fun and safe environment.
The October Holiday Week Programme provides a full day of soccer skills including:
Prices for the October Holiday Soccer School start from as little as £5 per half day or £10 for a full day, and there is also 10% discount for two or more children from the same family attending.
Grassroots Sports Manager Stevie Kirk commented, “Our holiday soccer schools have been very popular this year, and we look forward to another successful programme in October.
“During their week with us the young people will have a great time and will be able to improve their skills by working with our coaches.
In-form Chris Humphrey admits he is enjoying every minute of life both on and off the pitch at the moment.
The flying winger celebrated the birth of his new baby daughter Amele with a man-of-the-match display in the 2-0 victory over Hearts.
That was despite missing training after his partner Kerry gave birth in the early hours of Friday morning.
“I’ve not had much sleep over the last couple of nights but I’m just absolutely buzzing at the moment,” he said.
“The gaffer asked me if I would be OK to play and I told him that I wanted to. I don’t want to miss any games.”
Humphrey’s decision to play turned out to be a good one. The 23-year old turned in a dazzling performance in the capital, setting up both goals as the Steelmen recorded their third away victory of the campaign.
It was just the latest in a long line of impressive displays from one of the most improved players in the Motherwell squad.
“Last season was tough at for me at times. Jim O’Brien was playing extremely well and it was difficult to fit me in to the team,” he said.
“I had no complaints because you can’t drop someone who is playing well, but this season – with Jim moving on – I’m trying to make the position my own.”
Perhaps the most notable improvement in his game this season has been his end product, with two pinpoint assists at Tynecastle underlining the point.
Humphrey revealed he has been putting in extra hours during training and is glad to see his hard work pay off.
“Archie Knox works with me and the other wingers a lot in training and we do a lot of crossing drills and passing drills,” he said.
“I get a lot of practice with the delivery aspect of my game, and it seems to be paying off.
“I was happy to get the assists. All I want to do is set goals up for my team mates and maybe get a couple myself, but I get as much of a thrill setting up the strikers like John and Nick.”
Motherwell boss Craig Brown lavished praise on Chris Humphrey following his man-of-the-match performance against Hearts.
The 23-year-old set up both goals in the 2-0 win at Tynecatle just a day after becoming a father for the first time.
Brown was delighted with the impact made by the former Shrewsbury Town man, who didn’t even train in the build up to the game.
“Chris’ partner Kerry had a wee baby daughter on Friday and he didn’t actually train before the match,” the manager said. “It was touch and go whether we would play him, but he was very keen.
“He gives us fantastic pace and width down the right flank and his crossing prowess is improving as the weeks go by.
“His delivery from wide was excellent today; sometimes he can be a little rash, but he was picking out men today.
“Now Chris is considered to be a first choice player he is much more confident – you can see that.”
Humphrey’s new-born wasn’t the only youngster giving Brown cause for delight as there were nine of them in the Motherwell line-up at Tynecastle.
The Steelmen have long been considered one of the top clubs in the SPL for bringing through young talent and that trend shows no sign of changing as the current crop continue to mature under the experienced guidance Brown and Archie Knox.
“It is compulsory to have three U21 players in the match-day squad in the SPL,” he said. “We had nine today.
“Four of them were starting and we had another four on the bench. Saunders and Murphy are even regulars in the Scotland U21 squad, so we have real talent among the young players at the club.
“A lot of teams struggle to even make three U21 players and sometimes they have to bring in boys from the youth team.”
Brown also paid tribute to one of the more experienced members of his ‘Well side, Stephen Craigan, as his skipper undoubtedly won his key battle of the afternoon against Kevin Kyle.
“Touch wood – because we still have to play Hearts this season – Stephen Craigan always deals with Kevin Kyle brilliantly,” The manager praised.
“Kyle is a tough customer and it is always a physical battle – but Stephen likes those. He and Mark Reynolds both played very well.”
The 2-0 win at Tynecastle extended Motherwell’s excellent record away from home and the team have yet to concede on their travels this season.
“We’re equipped to play away from home because we have terrific pace in the team with Humphrey, Blackman and Murphy.
“We can play on the counter attack – and we do. But our keeper only had one save to make, that shows we’re doing the right stuff at the back too.
“I feel a home win is not far away. With the way we played against Hibs and Aberdeen we have deserved to have a win at home.”
Pictures from the 2-0 victory over Hearts in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Tynecastle. These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.
Motherwell maintained their excellent early season away form with a 2-0 victory over Hearts at Tynecastle.
Second-half goals from Nick Blackman and John Sutton earned the Steelmen a comfortable win in the capital.
Craig Brown’s side are now third in the SPL table having won their first three fixtures on the road without conceding a goal.
Motherwell lined up with the same starting eleven from last week’s draw against Aberdeen, with Tom Hateley continuing to deputise for Stevie Hammell at left-back.
Hearts named an attacking team as they looked to bounce back from their shock League Cup defeat to Falkirk, including David Templeton, Suso Santana, Calum Elliot and Kevin Kyle.
And it didn’t take them long to threaten, with the lively Santana setting up Templeton after a matter of seconds. However the young winger could only fire tamely into the arms of Darren Randolph from the edge of the box.
Santana then drove a dangerous cross across the face of goal which thankfully evaded everyone and went out for a goal kick.
Motherwell responded with a chance of their own on the quarter-hour mark. Chris Humphrey won a towering header in the midfield, allowing Blackman a chance to shoot from 25 yards. The on-loan hitman took the opportunity, lashing narrowly wide.
Both teams continued to trade possession as the half wore on and Templeton worked a yard of space before delivering a terrific cross for Kyle, who headed over the bar from ten yards out cleared.
The Steelmen were growing in confidence though and they had two fantastic opportunities to take the lead before the break.
Murphy hit the post in the 35th minute afterHumphrey outpaced Ryan Stevenson and found Blackman. His pass was flicked on by Keith Lasley to the striker, who saw his curling shot come back of the upright.
Murphy then tried his luck from distance, unleashing a terrific drive from 25 yards which forced Kello into a good save at his near post.
The striker continued to look the most likely to break the deadlock after the break and five minutes in he had another effort, testing the Hearts keeper from outside the box again.
At the other end, Jim Jefferies’ side almost sneaked in front from a free-kick. Templeton was tripped on the edge of the box by Stevie Saunders, who earned a yellow card for the foul. From the resulting chance, Elliot curled the ball just inches over the bar.
It clearly wasn’t enough to appease the manager and just before the hour mark Elliot and Templeton were brought off to be replaced by Stephen Elliott and Rudi Skacel.
But within seconds of the changes, Motherwell had the lead. Humphrey flew past stand-in left-back Eggert Jonsson before delivering an inch-perfect cross for Blackman. The striker had the freedom of the six yard box and expertly volleyed the ball into the top-left corner of the net.
Hearts threw men forward in search of an equaliser but this only played into Motherwell’s hands as they exposed more defensive frailties.
A Lasley drive from the edge of the box was parried by Kello and the Slovakian stopper made a stunning save from Sutton on the rebound, although referee Mike Tumilty bizarrely awarded a goal kick.
Sutton wasn’t to be denied though, and he grabbed the all-important second on 70 minutes. Humphrey was again the architect, showing pace and power to breeze past Jonsson and put the ball across the face of goal for Sutton to convert from a yard.
It was no more than Motherwell deserved and they comfortably saw out the rest of the game, much to the frustration of the home side.
Long, aimless balls to Kyle became the order of the day for Jefferies’ men late on as they desperately searched for a way back into the game.
But it was the Steelmen who went closest to scorring and they almost rubbed salt into the wounds with the last real chance of the game. Forbes picked out Blackman with a terrific near post cross but the striker could only divert the ball wide.
[tab:As it happened]
90+3′ FULL-TIME The final whistle is blown by the referee.
90+1′ The ball is swung over by Eggert Jonsson, Kevin Kyle takes a shot. Darren Randolph makes a save.
90+1′ Ian Black challenges Ross Forbes unfairly and gives away a free kick. Darren Randolph restarts play with the free kick.
90′ Eggert Jonsson challenges Alan Gow unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ross Forbes has a direct shot on goal from the free kick, save made by Marian Kello.
88′ SUB Alan Gow replaces Nick Blackman.
87′ Nick Blackman takes a shot. Save made by Marian Kello.
86′ Jamie Murphy has an effort at goal. Marian Kello makes a save.
84′ Ross Forbes takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Ross Forbes played to the near post, clearance by Ruben Palazuelos.
84′ Kevin Kyle gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Keith Lasley. Darren Randolph takes the direct free kick.
84′ Robert McHugh produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes wide left of the goal.
82′ SUB Robert McHugh replaces Chris Humphrey.
82′ Free kick awarded for a foul by Ian Black on Ross Forbes.
80′ Rudi Skacel takes the direct free kick.
80′ SUB Ross Forbes comes on for Steve Jennings.
80′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Suso Santana by Nick Blackman.
80′ The ball is swung over by Eggert Jonsson, clearance by Stephen Craigan.
76′ Corner taken by Suso Santana, clearance made by Steven Saunders.
76′ Nick Blackman fouled by Ismael Bouzid, the ref awards a free kick. Tom Hateley takes the free kick.
75′ Tom Hateley takes a shot. Save by Marian Kello.
74′ Free kick taken by Darren Randolph.
74′ SUB Ian Black comes on in place of Ryan Stevenson.
74′ Kevin Kyle is flagged offside by the assistant referee.
72′ A cross is delivered by Chris Humphrey, Jason Thomson makes a clearance.
72′ Rudi Skacel takes a shot from 35 yards and went wide left of the goal.
72′ Steven Saunders gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rudolf Skacel. Rudolf Skacel takes the direct free kick.
70′ GOAL John Sutton scores from inside the penalty area low into the middle of the goal. Assist by Chris Humphrey.
69′ Keith Lasley takes a shot. Save made by Marian Kello. John Sutton takes a shot. Marian Kello makes a save.
69′ Foul by Ryan Stevenson on Jamie Murphy, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Jamie Murphy.
68′ Stephen Elliott is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Stephen Craigan.
66′ The ball is delivered by Jason Thomson, clearance by Mark Reynolds.
65′ Free kick crossed by Stephen Craigan, clearance by Eggert Jonsson.
65′ BOOKING Jason Thomson is booked.
65′ Jason Thomson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jamie Murphy.
63′ Stephen Elliott concedes a free kick for a foul on Mark Reynolds. Free kick taken by Darren Randolph.
62′ Unfair challenge on Stephen Craigan by Kevin Kyle results in a free kick. Darren Randolph takes the free kick.
60′ The ball is sent over by Chris Humphrey, Ismael Bouzid manages to make a clearance. Foul by Steven Saunders on Rudolf Skacel, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Marian Kello.
58′ GOAL Nick Blackman gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Assist by Chris Humphrey.
57′ SUB Rudi Skacel comes on for David Templeton.
57′ SUB Stephen Elliott replaces Calum Elliot for Hearts.
56′ Free kick awarded for a foul by Jamie Murphy on Jason Thomson. Jason Thomson restarts play with the free kick.
55′ The referee penalises Keith Lasley for handball. Marian Kello takes the free kick.
54′ Calum Elliot has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.
54′ BOOKING Steven Saunders receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
53′ Steven Saunders challenges David Templeton unfairly and gives away a free kick.
52′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on John Sutton by Eggert Jonsson. Chris Humphrey crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel, Kevin Kyle manages to make a clearance.
50′ Jamie Murphy takes a shot. Marian Kello makes a save.
49′ The ball is crossed by Calum Elliot, clearance by Stephen Craigan.
48′ The ball is sent over by Eggert Jonsson, clearance made by Tom Hateley.
47′ Kevin Kyle is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Darren Randolph takes the free kick.
46′ The ball is delivered by Calum Elliot, Steven Saunders manages to make a clearance.
46′ KICK-OFF The referee gets the second half underway.
45+1 HALF-TIME The first half comes to an end.
45+1′ Jason Thomson sends in a cross, Stephen Craigan makes a clearance.
45+1′ The referee penalises Nick Blackman for handball. Ismael Bouzid restarts play with the free kick.
45+1′ Ismael Bouzid gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nick Blackman. Free kick taken by John Sutton.
44′ The assistant referee signals for offside against Nick Blackman. Ismael Bouzid restarts play with the free kick.
43′ Steven Saunders delivers the ball, Ismael Bouzid makes a clearance. Steven Saunders sends in a cross, clearance by Ismael Bouzid. Outswinging corner taken by Chris Humphrey, Stephen Craigan challenges Kevin Kyle unfairly and gives away a free kick. Marian Kello takes the direct free kick.
42′ The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Darren Randolph.
39′ Direct free kick taken by Darren Randolph. Jamie Murphy takes a shot. Save by Darren Randolph. Inswinging corner taken by Chris Humphrey, clearance made by Ryan Stevenson.
39′ BOOKING Ryan Stevenson is shown a yellow card.
39′ Foul by Ryan Stevenson on Tom Hateley, free kick awarded.
38′ The official flags John Sutton offside. Marian Kello takes the direct free kick.
38′ Tom Hateley fouled by Calum Elliot, the ref awards a free kick. Stephen Craigan takes the free kick.
37′ Keith Lasley takes a shot. Save by Marian Kello.
36′ Free kick awarded for a foul by Steven Saunders on David Templeton. Direct free kick taken by Eggert Jonsson.
35′ Effort from just inside the box by Jamie Murphy strikes the post.
33′ Corner taken by David Templeton from the left by-line, Kevin Kyle delivers the ball, Darren Randolph makes a save.
32′ David Templeton concedes a free kick for a foul on Stephen Craigan. Darren Randolph restarts play with the free kick.
30′ The ball is sent over by David Templeton, Header on goal by Kevin Kyle from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
29′ Outswinging corner taken by Ryan Stevenson, clearance by Steven Saunders.
26′ Kevin Kyle fouled by Steve Jennings, the ref awards a free kick. Adrian Mrowiec restarts play with the free kick.
26′ Free kick awarded for a foul by Ismael Bouzid on John Sutton. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Tom Hateley from left wing, clearance by Jason Thomson.
23′ Calum Elliot concedes a free kick for a foul on Steven Saunders. Direct free kick taken by Steven Saunders.
21′ Free kick awarded for a foul by Mark Reynolds on Kevin Kyle. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Ryan Stevenson from right channel. 21′ Foul by Ryan Stevenson on John Sutton, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Tom Hateley.
20′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Chris Humphrey by Eggert Jonsson. Free kick crossed right-footed by Tom Hateley from right wing, clearance by Jason Thomson.
17′ Suso Santana takes a short corner, Ryan Stevenson sends in a cross.
16′ Nick Blackman has shot on goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
15′ Unfair challenge on David Templeton by Steven Saunders results in a free kick. Eggert Jonsson takes the free kick.
14′ Kevin Kyle is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Tom Hateley takes the free kick.
14′ The ball is delivered by Chris Humphrey, save by Marian Kello.
12′ Effort from deep inside the area by Suso Santana misses to the left of the goal.
12′ Calum Elliot gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Tom Hateley. Tom Hateley takes the direct free kick.
11′ Suso Santana is penalised for a handball. Darren Randolph restarts play with the free kick.
9′ Corner taken by Ryan Stevenson from the right by-line.
7′ The referee blows for offside against Calum Elliot. Darren Randolph takes the indirect free kick.
6′ Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Ryan Stevenson from the right by-line, clearance by Mark Reynolds.
5′ The offside flag is raised against Nick Blackman. Marian Kello takes the indirect free kick.
4′ The ball is delivered by Tom Hateley, clearance by Eggert Jonsson. Corner taken right-footed by Chris Humphrey from the right by-line, clearance made by Ryan Stevenson.
3′ Ismael Bouzid gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Tom Hateley. Free kick crossed right-footed by Tom Hateley, Jason Thomson makes a clearance.
2′ Jason Thomson crosses the ball.
1′ Effort from the edge of the area by David Templeton goes wide of the left-hand post.
1′ KICK-OFF The match gets underway.
Motherwell boss Craig Brown:
“We were disappointed at half-time with the way we had played. I said to them, ‘if you don’t take the chances that you get, you could live to regret it, so make sure you come in here with no regrets’.
“They played exceptionally well in the second half. I did feel we had the edge. Our goalkeeper had one save throughout the match.
“I think Jim Jefferies would agree that we deserved to win the game but we have to keep our feet on the ground and get busy on Monday again for next week’s home game. It’s time we won a home game.
“We’re doing very well away from home in the SPL this season but the fans are due a home victory.”
Motherwell striker Nick Blackman:
“I wasn’t aware they had problems at the back until just before kick-off when the gaffer pulled us aside and told us their team.
“He told us they had made a few changes. But I still expected a tough challenge. Chris has electric pace and he can go past anyone in this league if he really wants to.
“He put a great ball in and thankfully I was on the end of it. It was more of a reaction finish – but I’ll take any goal.
“He did brilliantly for the second as well. He got to the byeline and I was shouting on him to pull it back to me. But I didn’t realise Sutts was in a better position and he found him, so I can’t complain. It was a great win.”
Hearts manager Jim Jefferies:
“They were better than us in the second half. Their movement was far better than ours and they deserved to win.
“We said at half-time, ‘this looks like a game where the first goal is going to be crucial’. And it’s the manner in which we lose the goal that’s the problem – our deficiencies at the back.
“We had four defenders standing still. Nick Blackman’s not got a central defender round about him. That’s just nonsense, he’s the main striker, he should be marked.
“That never happened up the other end. Motherwell, to their credit, once they got the goal, made sure it was going to be tight, difficult. They closed us down and didn’t give us any room.