Andy Ross at Fir Park
Motherwell hammered Hearts 3-0 to move nine points clear in third place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
Keith Lasley’s powerful strike was turned into his own net by Andy Webster before Jamie Murphy doubled ‘Well’s advantage four minutes before half time.
Lasley was dismissed for a second booking five minutes into the second half but the Steelmen continued to dominate proceedings and Nicky Law capped an excellent performance by adding the third goal.
Motherwell created the first clear-cut chance of the match after four minutes.
Henrik Ojamaa forced Jamie MacDonald into a smart stop after latching on to Tom Hateley’s cross and the Hearts keeper then produced a point-black save to deny Nicky Law.
The visitors managed their first attempt on goal after 10 minutes when Darren Randolph comfortably gathered David Obua’s long-range shot.
Keith Lasley received the first booking of the match when he clumsily hacked down Ian Black.
David Templeton shot high and wide just after the half-hour mark, before Motherwell came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock.
Jamie Murphy combined with Ojamaa and the Estonian’s fizzing cross evaded all inside the area with the goal gaping.
Ryan McGowan passed up a good opportunity when he dragged his shot wide after out-pacing Steven Hammell and ‘Well responded as Lasley’s shot was deflected wide by Andy Webster.
Webster went from hero to villain as Motherwell grabbed the opening goal from the resulting corner.
The Hearts defence failed to deal with Hateley’s dangerous corner and Webster turned Lasley’s powerful drive into his own net.
Templeton limped off to be replaced by Rudi Skacel following the ‘Well opener and things went from bad to worse for the visitors within four minutes of the Czech’s introduction.
Lasley’s sublime cross was met by Murphy who looped a header over MacDonald and high into the net.
After matching Motherwell for the majority of the first half, Hearts appeared to be shell-shocked and but for a brave save at the feet of Ojamaa, they could have found themselves three behind at the break.
Ojamaa and then Law both came close after a defensive error from Webster as Motherwell quickly picked up where they left off at the beginning of the second half.
They were dealt a blow on 50 minutes, however, as Lasley received a second booking for another lunge on Black.
Despite losing their captain, ‘Well continued to boss proceedings and Law chipped inches over the bar after MacDonald had raced from his goal to stop Murphy’s driving run.
The former Rotherham midfielder came even closer three minutes later when he rattled the frame of the Hearts goal with an excellent curling effort from the edge of the box.
Law wasn’t to be denied his goal though and after 65 minutes he hammered a shot beyond MacDonald after superb work from Ojamaa.
Hearts had offered little in the way of attacking threat as Motherwell powered ahead and Skacel’s wild effort was their first effort on Randolph’s goal in the second half.
Hateley fired a free-kick over the bar as Motherwell comfortably played out the closing stages of the match.
Michael Higdon should have added a fourth but somehow failed to connect with Ojamaa’s cutback.
Ojamaa and Hammell were both booked in the closing minutes of the match and Stuart McCall reacted by replacing the outstanding Estonian with Omar Daley.
The home side comfortably retained possession during three minutes of added time, ensuring a famous victory was also marked with a clean-sheet.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Fir Park
FULL TIME: Motherwell 3-0 Hearts. Jubilant scenes amongst the Fir Park faithful.
90mins: 3 minutes added on.
WELL SUB: It’s Omar Daley on for that man Ojamaa.
85mins: Oh…..should have been 4. Higdon only has to tap it in but the ball swerves mysteriously away from his boot.
84mins: And Henrik Ojamaa is named as today’s man of the match. What a shift…again!
83mins: Taouil mazes through the defence but his shot is somewhat laughable and trundles harmlessly past.
78mins: Hateley goes close with a free kick on the edge of the box. Narrowly over the bar.
76mins: ‘Well fans in the East seem aggrieved after an apparent gesture from Zaliukas…..
75mins: 15 minutes left and ‘Well are looking strong despite the man down.
67mins: HEARTS SUB: Black off (to a chorus of boo’s), Taouil on.
65mins: Great great goal. Ojamaa down the left with the tricks, lays in Murphy who then slots in Law who converts from the angle in off the post.
65mins: Na na na na na na na Nicky law, Nicky Law, Nicky Nicky Law!
GOOAAALLLLLLLL. LAW! It’s 3!
63mins: Black finds his way into the ref’s book after an ill-timed lunge on Ojamaa.
61mins: Hammells effort floats harmlessly wide.
61mins: Chance here….free-kick to ‘Well just outside the box.
Terribly unlucky. If that goes in it’s a contender for goal of the season.
55mins: Law smacks a 20 yarder off the junction!
53mins: Great chance to kill the game. MacDonald with a poor clearance straight to Law. His chipped effort towards the open goal flies just over
50mins: RED CARD: Keith lasley sent off for a second bookable offence
46mins: Ball over the top and somehow the ball breaks to Ojamaa. He reacts quickly but his poked effort is aimed straight at MacDonald.
HEARTS SUB: Driver off, Robinson on. Second half just underway.
Well fan Marcus slots home the £100 ball and promptly produces the guns. Hearts fan misses…
Cash converters challenge time. If you’re bored, tweet in your pics of you at the game.
And that half time whistle has now blown. Great stuff so far.
45mins:1 minute added on…as Jamie MacDonald goes down with a headknock.
42mins: 2-0 Lovely stuff from Lasley. His dinked cross is met by Murphy whose looping header goes in off the bar.
GOOOAALLLL: Jamie Murphy!
39mins: HEARTS SUB: Templeton off, Skacel On.
37mins – 1-0! Corner floated in and after a stramash the ball falls to Keith Lasley who smashes it in off a defender.
37mins: And up the other end, Lasley see’s his shot deflected over the bar for a corner.
36mins: Chance for Hearts. McGowan out runs Hammell and fortunately his shot powers just wide of the post.
35mins: Boo’s ringing out around the stadium as Ojamaa appeared to have his shirt pulled as he raced clean through. Nothing given!
32mins. Neat play from Murphy who slide in Ojamaa. His cross is blazed across the face of goal but with no takers.
24mins: Lasley booked for a hard challenge on Black. Looked a sore one.
20mins: In my opinion, we’re on top. No clear cut chances quite yet but I can sense a goal coming soon…
19mins: Good exchange of passing involving Law, Ojamaa and Higdon ends with Hateley. His cross is deep is a fraction too deep for Ojamaa.
16mins: Free kick 30 yards out……chipped into box by Hateley but Hutchys boot finds nothing but fresh air.
12mins: Great vocal backing from the ‘Well fans as usual. Warm welcome to the group of Aalesunds fans who have made the trip over.
11mins: Not a lot of noteworthy incidents so far.We’re looking dangerous down the left through Hammell and Law,
2mins: ‘Well go close! Ojamaa’s shot is parried out to Law but the covering hearts players scramble it clear. Encouraging start.
1min: Motherwell kick-off
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“On Friday we were looking at the two home games against the Edinburgh clubs. Hibs come here fighting for their lives on Wednesday for our game in hand.
“If – and it’s a big if – we can win that, then we will go 12 points clear of Hearts and that will be a huge gap at this stage of the season. So we will concentrate on each game.
“We can’t get carried away because we lost three games on the bounce not so long ago and it looked as if the wheels came off. But the way we have turned the home form around and the goals we are scoring, the confidence we are playing with, we just have to look to each game.
“All a manager can ask is to keep playing like that and if it brings us the points to edge close to Rangers then great.”
Hearts manager Paulo Sergio:
“For the first goal, I was not happy with lack of decision. We had three chances to get the ball out the box but couldn’t do it and that is the easiest thing to do in football.
“For the second goal, Lasley was all alone with the ball with a player three metres from him. It wasn’t a dangerous cross but it was an easy goal for Motherwell. That made it very hard for us.
“We were playing against 10 men for a lot of the second half, but they did their job very well, closing the space, so congratulations to them.”