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    Motherwell 1 – 0 Aberdeen

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    A first look at the Dons programme

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    Dundee Utd U19s win in pictures

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    TV: Youths back to winning ways

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    McCall offered one match ban

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    TV: Black looking for a reaction

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    Keith Lasley ban confirmed

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    10-yard Bucket Challenge

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    Academy Experience returns

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    TV: Youths crash to Celtic defeat

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    Motherwell 1 – 0 Aberdeen

    [tab:Match report]

    A sensational strike from stand-in skipper Stevie Hammell moved Motherwell level on points with Rangers and swept Aberdeen aside 1-0 in the Fir Park sunshine.

    The ‘Well’s makeshift defence of Jonathan Page and debutant Adam Cummins impressed, as did Stuart Carswell as Stuart McCall looked to his youth to fill the gaps created by suspensions to key players.

    The win was hard fought and despite a lot of second half pressure form the Dons, Craig Brown’s side fell to their first defeat of the calendar year.

    Aberdeen had the best of the opening exchanges, with Gavin Rae firing well over when he should have at least tested Darren Randolph when space opened up in front of him after just two minutes.

    Scott Vernon, usually so prolific in front of goal, trundled a shot from distance right in to Randolph’s hands after 14 minutes, as the Dons looked to capitalise on the inexperienced defensive pairing for Motherwell.

    The Steelmen’s first meaningful venture upfield came after some neat work on the left by Nicky Law allowed Steven Hammell to swing in a deep cross that found the head of Michael Higdon; the Scouse striker was deemed to have climbed on Considine before the ball crossed the line.

    Considine was then booked for taking out Henrik Ojamaa who was arguably clean through on goal. The Aberdeen skipper walked a tightrope for the rest of the game, committing similar fouls on Ojamaa and Higdon without further punishment.

    Motherwell took the lead just after the midway point of the first period and it was a goal of some quality from Stevie Hammell. Tom Hateley’s throw fell at Ojamaa’s feet and his intelligent pass inside found the full-back 35-yards from goal. He looked up and unleashed a thunderbolt of a strike past Jason Brown and into the keeper’s top right hand corner.

    That magnificent strike brought with it some swagger from the home side, with Chris Humphrey having a whipped cross cleared by McCardle, before Brown made a great one handed save from close range after Stuart Carswell had bundled through the Dons’ defence.

    Steve Jennings almost joined the rare goals club when he rose to head a great Humphrey cross, but his effort was held by Brown.

    The home side looked as if they would go in with a half-time lead but Andy Considine had Motherwell hearts in mouths just before the break when he was picked out in the box from a Clark Robertson corner; the defender shinned his effort well over.

    Into the second half and young Carswell almost made it 2-0 after Ojamaa and Nicky Law linked up well on the left to play him in, but Brown made a fine low save to thwart the midfielder.

    The Dons had early second half chances of their own, Fallon ballooned an effort into the travelling fans when he should have struck on target. Kari Arnason followed that up with a daisy cutter that Randolph could have dropped his cap on.

    Aberdeen’s best chance of the match came with Vernon got on the end of Ryan Jack’s driven cross but was thwarted by the brilliance of Darren Randolph as he palmed the volley over from point blank range. From the corner, Fallon headed wide, as Aberdeen pressed for an equaliser.

    Steve Jennings took a nasty headknock in a challenge with Considine and Arnason, meaning he had to leave the pitch for treatment. In his absence, the 10 men in Claret and Amber stuck steadfastly to their game plan and soaked up all the pressure the Dons applied. Upon his return, bandaged and bloodied, the ‘Well faithful gave him a rapturous applause. He continued where he left off by brilliantly tracking back and covering runs, helping out Cummins and Page when needed.

    Humphrey was terrorising Chris Clark on the left wing and brought a fantastic save out of Brown, when he cut in past the makeshift left back, only to see his shot beaten out by the in-form keeper.

    The game became s crappy with Arnason and Hateley both booked for rash challenges in the middle of the park. Henrik Ojamaa showed what a handful he could for Reynolds and Considine, and when the Dons’ captain slipped, the Estonian gleefully ran at goal. However, he ran in to a cul-de-sac when a square pass to Higdon would surely have put the game to bed, and the chance was gone.

    As the game ticked down, Humphrey blasted well wide after getting himself in a similar position to what he had earlier, before crossing to close to Brown with Law waiting in the middle. There was an anxious three minutes of stoppage time but the Fir Parkers held firm for a crucial three points.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alastair Reilly at Fir Park

    FULL TIME! 1-0 to the mighty ‘Well. HUGE 3 points!

    90mins: 3 minutes added on….Nervous?

    85mins: Unlucky Chris Humphrey. The winger’s pace relieves the pressure and he does well to get into the box. His shot blazes well wide.

    81mins: McHugh on for Ojamaa.

    78mins: Backs to the wall stuff now as Aberdeen turn up the pressure.

    70mins: Humphrey’s shot is parried by Brown straight to Higdon. as the big man pulls the trigger, Considine slides in to block.

    68mins: And Jennings takes to the field to huge applause….head bandage and all.

    67mins: Danger averted by the strong Motherwell wall.

    66mins: Page booked for a soft looking tackle on the edge of the area. danger here….

    62mins: Jennings receiving treatment for a cut to the head.

    58mins: Considine on thin ice now with another poor challenge. From the free-kick, Page heads just over.

    50mins: 4630 fans here today. Thank you to you all.

    48mins: Stuart Carswell goes close with a 20 yard drive. Safe hands from Brown deny the youngster.

    46mins: And we’re back in action at Fir Park.

    HALF-TIME: A deserved first half lead for Motherwell.

    42mins: Great chance for Jennings as the ball is dinked towards the Scouser’s head, didn’t quite get enough on it to trouble Brown though!

    36mins: ¾ of the first-half gone, still 1-0. Motherwell well on top with Ojamaa and Humphrey looking dangerous.

    22mins: GOAL!!! Stevie Hammell 30 yard rocket!!!!!!

    16mins: Considine booked for a crunching challenge on Ojamaa.

    15mins: Chance Motherwell! Hammell floats a ball in from the left towards Higdon, but the big man is ruled to have been climbing.

    10mins: Quiet start at Fir Park. The makeshift backline is coping admirably so far. Mon the ‘Well!

    3mins: First half chance of the game as Vernon races clear of the defence only to be thwarted by Darren Randolph’s slide challenge

    KICK-OFF – C’mon the ‘Well!


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “It is a massive result for us, especially with the way that the other games went today.

    “To be honest, before the game with the depletion we had I would have settled for a point but all of the guys were excellent.

    “We had four of our centre-backs out today, you wouldn’t worry about that if they had a more experienced player to play alongside but it was a big ask to have them playing together.

    “Throughout the side we were excellent and I thought we deserved to win.”

    Aberdeen manager Craig Brown:

    “Motherwell have some fantastic young players and (youth team manager) Gordon Young and (chief scout) Bobby Jenks deserve a medal for the fantastic work they do.

    “This wasn’t a vintage Aberdeen performance, we didn’t show the right enthusiasm and confidence.

    “You have to remember though that this was our first defeat of the year and was a very narrow one at that, we will now have to pick ourselves up as we have some big games between now and the end of the season.” 


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    A first look at the Dons programme

    ‘Well host Aberdeen in a crucial Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash this Saturday and if you are coming to the match, don’t forget to pick up a matchday programme.

    What’s inside? Well, manager Stuart McCall talks in-depth about his views of last week’s match, his opinion on being sent to the stand and his hopes for the remainder of the season.

    The cover interview is with midfielder maestro Nicky Law. The former Rotherham man talks to the Motherwell Matchday Magazine about the possibility of playing in Europe for the first time, gaining revenge for last week’s Scottish Cup defeat and the importance of the ‘Well support as we head towards the business end of the season.

    Skipper Stephen Craigan makes a welcome return and rallies the troops ahead of the big match and talks about joining the ‘Well Society.

    There is a special 10-page section dedicated to our visitors, Aberdeen. Not only is there a rundown of the current squad and a review of the season so far, we get the views of Don David Falconer, Peter Elder looks back at one of the more memorable matches between the sides and former Steelmen star Stephen Hughes takes part in our Q&A.

    And that’s not all. As well as match report from last week’s match with the Dons, regular features such as On This Day with Graham Barnstaple and Gavin McCafferty in From the Press Box return.

    Our Fanatics series also returns, David Fraser or Frazzle to the online Motherwell community, answers the questions and there’s a review of the U19s 5-2 defeat at the hands of Celtic on Tuesday afternoon.

    But wait, there’s more! We take a look back at 1990/91 in our Golden Years feature and there’s an in-depth statistical look at referee Iain Brines. We have the latest from The Ticket Office and the Commercial Department and the latest stats, facts and figures for the 2011/2012 campaign.

    The programme is available for £3 and is currently on sale from the Club Shop as well as the usual sellers located in and around the ground pre-match.

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    Dundee Utd U19s win in pictures

    Pictures from the 2-1 win over Dundee Utd in the Clydesdale Bank Under 19s League at Bathgate Thistle’s Creamery Park.

    [svgallery name=”dundeeutdu19s160312″]

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    TV: Youths back to winning ways

    Keiran McGachie netted a later winner as Motherwell U19s came from behind to beat Dundee Utd 2-1 at a sodden Creamery Park.

    Stevie Campbell’s side had taken an early lead but were pegged back when French midfielder Hermann Mboa Mekongo equalised six minutes into the second half.

    Former Spurs full-back Zaine Francis-Angol did brilliantly well down the left flank, beating the full-back before hanging up a lovely ball towards the back post. The former INF Clairefontaine student arrived with perfect timing and controlled a lovely volley into the back of the net for his fifth of the season.

    The scores remained that way as both teams traded chances but it would be Motherwell who took all three points with a goal two minutes from time. The Steelmen won a corner off a Nicky Devlin cross, allowing Stevie Hetherington the chance to whip in one of his trademark corners.

    His near post ball was begging to be headed home, Keiran McGachie duly obliged, bulleting a deserved winner into the net, sparking wild scenes.

    Young’s men are back in action against title-chasing Hearts on Tuesday afternoon.

    Motherwell: Stewart, Green (Lynch – 73mins), Francis-Angol, Devlin, Brownlie, Mboa Mekongo, Asghar, Hetherington, MacDonald (Leitch – 61mins), McGachie, Erwin

    .TV – Gordon Young’s Reaction

    .TV – Match Highlights

    >> Match Pictures

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    McCall offered one match ban

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall has been offered a one match suspension by the Compliance Officer following his ‘dismissal’ against Aberdeen last Sunday.

    McCall is alleged to have breached Disciplinary Rule 203 (Misconduct at a match by dissent and the repeated use of abusive and insulting language) following referee Craig Thomson’s match report.

    The club have until 1pm on Wednesday 21st March 2012 to appeal the decision should it be deemed appropriate to do so. Should the club reject the fixed suspension offered, a Disciplinary Tribunal will be convened on Thursday, 5th April 2012.

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    TV: Black looking for a reaction

    Assistant boss Kenny Black has called for a positive reaction from the squad after last Sunday’s disappointing Cup exit.

    Tomorrow’s opponents Aberdeen were victorious last week at Fir Park, securing their spot in the William Hill Scottish Cup Semi Final against Hibs at Hampden.

    However, their success wasn’t without controversy and Scotland coach Black is hoping his players can utilise that motivation whilst remaining focused on securing a spot in European football next term.

    He told MFC.tv: “It’s not often we’ve had to pick up the players this season but everyone connected with the club was extremely disappointed with how last Sunday panned out.

    “There were a lot of different things that contributed to the defeat, all of which have been well covered. But the lads came in and trained well on Monday and Tuesday and quickly got over that.

    “We’ve now got nine games to go until the end of the season; nine games to secure European football and what a marvellous achievement that would be.”


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    Keith Lasley ban confirmed

    Midfielder Keith Lasley will be forced to sit out the next two SPL matches following his red card against Aberdeen last Sunday.

    The veteran midfielder, who is enjoying a terrific season, was ordered off after a challenge on Fraser Fyvie left the Dons youngster grounded.

    Stand-in skipper Lasley has since apologised to the player and was backed by former boss Craig Brown and former teammate Mark Reynolds.

    However, referee Craig Thomson confirmed in his report that the 32-year old was dismissed for serious foul play, an offence that carries an automatic two-game ban in all competitions.

    The former Plymouth Argyle man will now miss Saturday’s clash with Aberdeen and the trip to Rugby Park the following weekend.

    For an updated suspension list, CLICK HERE.

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    10-yard Bucket Challenge

    Young defender Shaun Hutchinson is the fourth ‘Well player to test his golfing talent in the 10-yard Bucket Challenge.

    Jamie Murphy kicked things off with a disappointing 101 and was quickly shown up by Irish defender, who did it in a solid 18. Former Scotland International Stevie Hammel shot a 41 over par, 42!

    Now it’s the time of the Geordie to see if he can snatch top of the leaderboard and scoop a fourball at one of Scotland’s top courses as a prize?


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    Academy Experience returns

    Motherwell FC will again be offering young people between the ages of 6 and 12 the opportunity to experience life as a professional footballer.

    The Academy Experience programme returns after a successful trial last October during the up-coming Easter Holiday period.

    The Experience is a week long intensive programme which will replicate the coaching received by professional players, and will include training sessions with members of the first team squad and coaching staff and a training session on Fir Park.

    Comprehensive coaching will include game awareness, technique development, balance, creativity, and nutrition. Academy Experience is designed to take young players to the next level of performance, and to instil in them the skills and confidence they require to develop their potential.
    Coaching will be delivered by our highly-qualified SFA accredited coaches, and the young people will be rubbing shoulders with the first team professionals and youth squads. Participants will also be presented with a certificate signed by Motherwell Manager, and former Scotland star, Stuart McCall.
    The five-day programme –  April 2nd to April 6 and April 9th to April 13th – costs just £55 which includes a healthy breakfast. Players should bring their own packed lunch, and appropriate footwear and clothing – and a change to allow for inclement weather.

    Book by telephoning 01698 239 926 or online at www.motherwellsoccerschools.com.

    Places are strictly limited so book now! Download the flyer here.


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    TV: Youths crash to Celtic defeat

    Motherwell U19s crashed to a heavy 5-2 defeat at the hands of Celtic this afternoon, bringing to an end a five-month unbeaten run.

    The Steelmen hadn’t lost a competitive game since crashing to a 3-1 defeat at Aberdeen in mid October and had won five out of their last six matches.

    But it was Celtic, chasing table-toppers Hearts, who came flying out the blocks, netting three times in the opening sixteen minutes.

    They took the lead after just four, Tony Watt heading home a Paul George cross. The same player grabbed his, and Celtic’s, second some seven minutes later before Callum McGregor added a decisive third, slotting home after Darnell Fisher’s shot was blocked by Ross Stewart.

    Motherwell were on the ropes, Celtic rampant, and the visitors netted a fourth with Watt grabbing a hat-trick with a fine header.

    It went from bad to worse on 34th minutes when John Kennedy’s side added their fifth. In what was becoming the story of the match, Watt was again the scorer and it again came from a header.

    Half-time couldn’t come quick enough for Young’s side and to their credit, they came out and battled in the second half, making the score more respectable.

    Craig Moore pulled one back after 58 minutes, Francis-Angol’s cutback ended up at the feet of the young striker via Lee Erwin and he slotted home.

    Erwin and Josh Watt passed up decent chances to add a second before Moore eventually did with twelve minutes left to play. Substitute Adam Asghar threw over a terrific cross from the right and Moore found himself unmarked to head home from eight yards out.

    The Steelmen battled on but couldn’t add any further goals. The youths have a chance to bounce back when they take on Dundee Utd in three days time.

    Motherwell: Stewart, Devlin, Brownlie, Murray, Francis-Angol, Watt, Carswell (Asghar – 45mins), Hetherington, Moore, McGachie, Erwin

    Subs: Murray, Lynch, Green, Leitch, MacDonald, Mboa Mekongo

    .TVGordon Young’s Reaction

    .TVMatch Highlights