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    Panathinaikos 3 – 0 Motherwell

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    Players prepare for Panathinaikos

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    Hammell shirts up for auction

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    TV: McCall hoping for good showing

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    Season Tickets: Still available

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    TV: Highlights from Dingwall

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    TV: Lasley looks back on stalemate

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    TV: McCall bemoans lack of spark

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    Ross County draw in pictures

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    Ross County 0 – 0 Motherwell

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    Panathinaikos 3 – 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Alan Burrows @ the Olympic Stadium

    Motherwell were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in the baking Greek heat as Panathinaikos ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at the Olympic Stadium.

    The Steelmen battled hard and deservedly went in level at the interval, even mustering a couple of shots at goal.

    But a gem of a free-kick from Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and a quick counter from speed-merchant Charis Mavrias had the travelling ‘Well fans thinking back to the home leg.

    By the time Ivorian Ibrahim Sissoko added a third a brave and battling Steelmen were spent but far from disgraced.

    Stuart McCall made just one change from the side that drew 0-0 with Ross County in the Highlands last Saturday. Michael Higdon was sacrificed for young Adam Cummins as Stuart McCall shuffled the formation going three at the back with the two wide players supporting the solitary Henrik Ojamaa in attack.

    It was a fairly even in the first few minutes although the home side could claim the better of the chances. Toché trundled a half-chance at Darren Randolph before passing up a glorious opportunity just seconds later. Collecting the ball from a neat pass, the Spaniard had the whole goal to aim at but somehow blasted it wide when a goal seemed certain.

    The Steelmen came more and more into things and knocked the ball about well in the stifling Greek heat but were unable to open up the opposition defence.

    In contrast, Toché looked to have been presented with yet another glorious chance to score but he was thwarted by the assistant’s flag although it probably saved the 29-year old’s blushes after a poor first touch.

    Motherwell finally made inroads into the Panathinaikos half and incredibly, with their first shot, almost took the lead. Skipper Keith Lasley collected the ball some thirty yards from goal and after taking a few strides forward, unleashed a stinging effort that forced Orestis Karnezis into a two-handed save.

    Shortly after, McCall’s men looked to have created a decent chance inside the box but Omar Daley opted to pass rather than shot on the edge and it was half cleared. When Hammell eventually swung in the second ball, Daley gave away a foul.

    It was a heartening sight for the 500+ ‘Well fans in the Olympic Stadium who perhaps began to believe the incredible could happen although last week’s goalscorer Christodoulopoulos served warning of his ability from a dead ball by almost netted a carbon-copy of his strike at Fir Park.

    Thankfully Irish International Randolph was well placed to block despite the best efforts of Jean-Alain Boumsong who had made the decoy run once again.

    The longer the half wire on the more ‘Well were making an impact. Another long range effort by skipper Lasley was testament to Motherwell’s competitiveness as the first forty-five went on. Indeed, the Lanarkshire men ended the half with an incredible 57% possession and a great deal of hope going into the second period.

    That was confirmed a minute in when Stevie Hammell’s excellent cross into the box caused confusion amongst the home defence although no one in Claret and Amber could capitalise.

    Down the other end, a couple of brilliant defensive headers from Simon Ramsden denied Panathinaikos as they looked to get a firm grip in the game. But just as it looked as if ‘Well had a great platform to build for the second period, it was Christodoulopoulos who would break Motherwell hearts with another free-kick.

    Yet again it was another harsh free-kick given against the Steelmen – Shaun Hutchinson again on the end of another questionable call from the match official much like he was in the first leg. However, that shouldn’t overshadow the brilliance of Christodoulopoulos as he curled a belter of an effort from about 22-yards leaving a diving Randolph absolutely helpless.

    There was a claim for a penalty from the hosts as Sissoko’s cross was blocked by a trailing arm of Adam Cummins. Although it did strike the youngsters hand as he slid to make the block, it was certainly more ball to hand from a close distance and the referee was right to way away the half-hearted protests.

    Motherwell legs were starting to look heavy as the home side went up a gear. Toché thought he finally had his goal after getting on the end of a Sissoko cross but his downward header was expertly blocked by Randolph to keep it at 1-0.

    Panathinaikos continued to push for more goals and Boumsong almost got on the end of another Christodoulopoulos’ free-kick but the former Rangers defender could only flick his header from the penalty spot high over the bar.

    The heat was beginning to take a real toll on the Fir Park men prompting McCall to introduce Bob McHugh in place of Henrik Ojamaa.

    It did little to stem the flow of Greek attacks with Sissoko firing a left-footed shot well wide of Randolph’s post.

    It was only delaying the inevitable though as Panathinaikos doubled their advantage and it was once again déjà vu as substitute Charis Mavrias netted from a quick counter. Collecting from deep, he ran and ran, cut inside the tracking Hutchinson before slotting past Randolph.

    With the game and the tie gone, McCall threw on both Zaine Francis-Angol and Michael Higdon and the latter almost brought about a decent chance but his duel with keeper Karnezis brought about a free-kick – a challenge that would no doubt be deemed reasonable in the SPL.

    Heading towards the closing stages, Panathinaikos added an exclamation point to their victory with a third. An excellent through ball played Sissoko in. The Ivorian kept his cool to slot under Darren Randolph for a goal perhaps the midfielder deserved for his performances over the tie, but it was very harsh a battling ‘Well who had given everything.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Alan Burrows @ the Olympic Stadium

    90mins – Full Time in Greece. Motherwell go out fighting.

    Goal – Sissoko (82). The Ivorian adds a third, breaking clear and slotting under Darren Randolph. Harsh on ‘Well now!

    80mims – Great defensive clock by Ramsden to deny a third. The former Bradford man has been excellent in both matches in this tie.

    Well Subs: Higdon and Francis-Angol on for Daley and Cummins…

    Goal Mavris (75). Its déjà vu for the Fir Park men as sub Charis Mavrias dribbles past the away defence to slot home.

    ‘Well sub: McHugh replaces Henrik Ojamaa. 20mins left to play!

    Pana Sub: Mavrias and Katsouranis come on replacing Marinos and Toche…

    63mins – Hutchinson booked for a trip on Lazarus…

    60mins – Randolph saves brilliantly from Toche. Spaniard heads after a great Sissoko cross. Pana have stepped it up for sure!

    57mins – Pen claim from Pana! Although it did hit Adam Cummins’ arm, he was only a yard away and the ref was right to deny…

    Very harsh free-kick given against Hutchinson, not for the first time in this tie, certainly didn’t help matters. Harsh on the ‘Well!

    Goal: Christodoulopoulos (50). Belter of a free-kick from the Pana skipper!

    48mins – Couple of terrific defensive headers from Ramsden saves an almost certain goal!

    46mins – ‘Well get us going again!

    ‘Well players making their way back on to the park for the second half! C’mon the STEELMEN!!

    57% possession for the Steelmen during the first-half… Just need to convert that into real guilt-edged chances if we can!

    HT Pana 0-0 ‘Well

    32mins – Vital block from Cummins as Vyntra lines up a shot inside the area. Corner is headed wide by the same player just after…

    31mins – Motherwell doing okay here… Pana look content to let us have the ball with the threat of going up a gear at any time. #COYW

    27mins – Offt! Las almost opens the scoring for the Steelmen. Stinging effort from the edge of the area is palmed away by the keeper.

    25mins – Looked as if Pana were lining up another dig from the edge but Nicky Law was there with a vital interception. Still 0-0 in Greece!

    21mins – Toche has another half decent effort in front of goal but before he can get a touch he is stopped by the assistant’s flag.

    Wifi is struggling now too! Seems it can happen in any stadium – even a 5 star one! Do our best via IPhone!

    6mins – Pana back in attack… Corner is punched away really well by Randolph!

    3mins – Seconds later, the same player should score with a great chance in front of goal but somehow puts it wide. Let off without doubt!

    3mins – Pana have the first shot – Touche hits it straight into the arms of Randolph….

    1min – Panathinaikos to get us underway here at the Olympic Stadium…

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “For three quarters of the tie – the game at Fir Park and the first half tonight – there’s nothing between the sides.

    “It was cruel. But there is no need to pick the boys up mentally because there was a lot of good performances. 

    “We’ve been done by a free kick again. I thought that it was harsh. I doubt it would have been given in Scotland, because there’s no doubt Shaun Hutchinson won the ball. I heard the boy yelp from the sidelines and maybe that’s what decided it.

    “The second goal was a classic counter-attack. We had good possession 10 yards outside their penalty box and the same scorer from last week broke away and did us again.

    “And in the last 10-15 minutes the heat told.” 

    Panathinaikos manager Jesualdo Ferreira:

    Coming Soon…

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”108″]

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    Players prepare for Panathinaikos

    The Motherwell players met the Greek media and trained at the Olympic Stadium in Athens last night ahead of this evening’s Champions League Third Qualifying Round match.

    [svgallery name=”panathinaikosawaytraining070812″]

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    Hammell shirts up for auction

    Stevie Hammell has made ten shirts from his testimonial match against Everton available for auction on eBay.

    These shirts worn by James McFadden, Steven Hammell, Nicky Law, Tom Hateley, Chris Humphrey, Henrik Ojamaa, Michael Higdon, Jamie Murphy, Keith Lasley and Omar Daley have been signed on the back by each player and on the front by the testimonial man himself, Steven Hammell.

    This is a unique opportunity to own a piece of MFC history and the auctions close on Thursday 16th August 2012.

    For more information or to bid on one of the shirts then visit the ‘auctions’ section on the official website or search ‘Motherwell FC’ on ebay.

  • Archive

    TV: McCall hoping for good showing

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall is hoping his side can turn it on in the roasting Greek heat tomorrow and upset the odds against Panathinaikos.

    The Steelmen gaffer is realistic about his sides’ chances going into the match at the 60,000+ Olympic Stadium in Athens.

    However, the former Scotland International midfielder reckons the first goal is crucial and that his side must play conservatively but carry a realistic attacking threat.

    He said: “We’ve got to understand that if we do go out we’ve got the Europa League tie to fall into and we don’t want a result that is going to harm our confidence in European football.

    “If you go away from home and you try to go at them on a pitch like that with the quality they’ve got in this heat then I think you are asking for trouble.

    “We’ve got to be cautious but also carry an attacking threat and when we do get an opportunity hopefully we can be clinical. I think the key point is being in the game as long as we can.”

    -WATCH STUART’s INTERVIEW FROM ATHENS EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV-

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    Season Tickets: Still available

    With the first home SPL game of the 2012/13 right around corner, this is the time to make sure you have your season ticket.

    The club are targeting 5,000 season tickets for the new campaign but are still some way short of achieving that goal.

    Chief Executive Leeann Dempster said, “Whilst season tickets are fairly healthy overall – we are still quite far away from where we wanted to be at this stage.

    “We launched Steelmen Forever in early July hoping it would prompt as many Motherwell fans as possible to join us for the forthcoming campaign but we’ve seen very little, if any, bump at all.  I am sure there are supporters out there who plan to renew so I’d appeal to them to do it and get back to Fir Park this season.

    [pullquote]If you, or anyone you know, are thinking about getting a season ticket but, for whatever reason, you haven’t as yet then our message is get along and be involved.[/pullquote]

    “We have to work hard to plug the gap and to ultimately grow the income and that’s where we needs fans to help us. If you, or anyone you know, are thinking about getting a season ticket but, for whatever reason, you haven’t as yet then our message is get along and be involved.

    “There is a real value for money attached to our Season Book, particularly around families. We’ve had a real buy-in from fans over the last few years but this summer more than any we need everyone to dig deep.”

    -BUY YOUR SEASON TICKET ONLINE NOW-

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Dingwall

    Match highlights from the Global Energy Stadium as Ross County and Motherwell played out a battling 0-0 draw.

    -WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS ON MFC TV-

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    TV: Lasley looks back on stalemate

    Skipper Keith Lasley insists ‘Well failed to capitalise on their first half superiority as Ross County held firm for a 0-0 draw this afternoon.

    The Steelmen had much the better of the opening exchanges but failed to really test former Fir Park stopper Mikey Fraser.

    The hosts came back into it in the second but never really put Darren Randolph under much pressure in a fairly timid opening game to the new SPL season.

    [pullquote]We had a couple of opportunities where we just didn’t pick the right pass or the weight of pass was wrong.[/pullquote]

    Lasley told MFC TV: “In the first half we’ve had the bulk of the possession without creating as many chances as we’d have liked. I thought we moved the ball pretty well at times and had half chances in terms of getting down the sides but they were compact and well organised as we knew they would be.

    “In the second half county came back into it a bit more and put some pressure on us as you’d expect as they are at home for their first game in the SPL.

    “We never quite got into our stride in the second half. We had a couple of opportunities where we just didn’t pick the right pass or the weight of pass was wrong. We never tested the keeper enough and that is the most disappointing aspect of today.”

    -WATCH KEITH LASLEY INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV-

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    TV: McCall bemoans lack of spark

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall was left frustrated after his side failed to properly test SPL newboys Ross County at Dingwall this afternoon.

    The Steelmen got into good positions on more than one occasion but a lack of final product stopped any real chance of a goal as ‘Well were forced to settle for a 0-0 draw.

    And McCall wants more from his side in the attacking third, “There were very few chances created by either side and I thought we had long spells of possession but didn’t really have the killer final pass.

    [pullquote]There were very few chances created by either side and I thought we had long spells of possession but didn’t really have the killer final pass.[/pullquote]

    “A couple of times in the first half we got in areas where I thought we could have done better but they’ve defended well and got blocks in. I just felt if we upped it we could have taken all three points. We didn’t and I think a nil-nil was probably fair.

    “Overall you take the positives; a point and a clean sheet away from home which was always going to be tough coming here for the first game of the season. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, it was just a bit of magic or spark that was missing.”

    -WATCH THE INTERVIEW WITH STUART McCALL ONLY ON MFC TV-

  • Archive

    Ross County draw in pictures

    Pictures from the 0-0 draw with Ross County in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Global Energy Stadium.

    These action shots and more are available to buy online at motherwellpics.com.

    [svgallery name=”rosscounty040812″]

  • Archive

    Ross County 0 – 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

     Andy Ross at The Global Energy Stadium

    Motherwell opened their Clydesdale Bank Premier League campaign with a 0-0 stalemate against Ross County at the Global Energy Stadium.

    Chances were at a premium throughout what was a closely-fought affair.

    Stuart McCall made one change to the side that fell to a 2-0 defeat to Panathinaikos on Tuesday evening, Omar Daley replacing Henrik Ojamaa.

    County were presented with the Division One championship flag prior to kick-off and the Motherwell players applauded their opponents on to the park for their first ever SPL encounter.

    Motherwell enjoyed the bulk of the opening possession without creating a clear-cut chance.

    They did however create the first chance of the match – Michael Higdon failing to trouble Michael Fraser from distance.

    The hosts created their first real chance of the match on 33 minutes when Darren Randolph did well to tip the ball over the bar after Grant Munro had risen to meet Richard Brittain’s free-kick.

    It was the Steelmen who continued to look the more likely of the two sides though and they finished the opening 45 minutes with three half chances.

    Higdon headed over from Tom Hateley’s corner, Simon Ramsden sent a 25-yard effort wide of the target and on the stroke of half-time Higdon diverted Hateley’s goal-bound cross over the crossbar.

    The noisy ‘Well support were hoping for more to cheer about during the second half, however it was to follow a similar pattern to the opening half.

    Steven Hammell fired well over the top of Fraser’s goal before Chris Humphrey saw his low cross gathered well by the County keeper.

    Derek Adams’ men responded with chances with Richard Brittain and Paul Lawson both heading over the top.

    Stuart McCall looked to introduce some attacking spark to his side as he replaced Humphrey with Henrik Ojamaa.

    The Estonian international played his part in setting up Daley to fizz a low effort which troubled Fraser.

    With six minutes remaining Robert McHugh replaced Daley, as Motherwell looked to claim all three points.

    They did end with a flurry of corners but the home defence comfortably held out, ensuring they marked their SPL debut with a point.

    The Steelmen now can focus on trying to overturn a two goal deficit in Athens on Wednesday evening, but may have to do so without the services of winger Chris Humphrey, who sustained a hamstring injury during today’s clash.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alan Burrows at The Global Energy Stadium

    FT: Ross County 0-0 Well

    90mins – Few corners come to nothing for ‘Well. Brittain flashes a shot just wide at the other end. Still 0-0!

    84mins – Omar Daley comes off replaced by Bob McHugh!

    78mins – Sam Morrow comes on for County – replacing Martin Scott.

    76mins – Left foot shot from Daley has Fraser scrambling but he gets down well low to his left to make the save.

    70mins – Ojamaa on for Humphrey now too!

    70mins – County sub. Corcoran on for Russell Duncan!

    63mins – Attendance today is 4828! Sorry for the lack of updates… Nothing much is really happening to be honest.

    60mins – Decent ball across the face from Humphrey but its well held by Fraser low at his near post.

    52mins – Long-range effort from Stevie Hammell goes flying over the bar. No real threat to the County goal…

    45mins – Teams are back out on the park – no changes I think – the home side to get us underway…

    HT: Ross County 0 – 0 Motherwell

    45mins – Hateley’s corner looks to be flying into the net but it hits the unlucky Higdon and bounces over the bar…

    43mins – Ramsden flashes a long-range shot not too far wide of Fraser’s post. Good to see him getting up the park,

    41mins – A Hateley corner finds Higdon in the area but his header gives Mikey Fraser no bother at all!

    40mins – Still waiting for a breakthrough here… It’s not been great to be honest. Neither side really getting a firm grip on things.

    34mins – Richie Britton free-kick is headed towards goal by Munro. Randolph makes a good save to tip over. Bit of climbing I thought…

    33mins – Some of the chants to Bob McHugh from the ‘Well fans, whilst crude, are brilliant.

    27mins – Shot from Lawson that blazes just wide of the post… It’s been a low-key opening to the match!

    24mins – Henrik Ojamaa goes out to warm up and the ‘Well fans give him a great reception.

    18mins – Nothing too much going on up here at the moment. Both teams a little slack in possession…

    15mins – Higdon flashes a low shot at Mikey Fraser but the former ‘Well stopper was more than equal to it.

    8mins – Great run by Murphy but it breaks down just at the last part and the ball goes out for a goal kick…

    3mins – Chris Humphrey fires back at the other end but his shot from the edge of the box curls way over the bar….

    2mins – Colin McMenamin has the first half chance as he flicks a header towards goal. No trouble for Randolph though…

    2min – Motherwell fans in great voice. Great backing for the lads in the middle of a Euro campaign.

    1min – Motherwell get us underway here in Dingwall.

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I was disappointed with the fact that we didn’t make more use of the ball that we had.

    “We dominated the possession for a long time and we didn’t make any real clear-cut chances.

    “They defended solidly but we can play better. We’ve got to take the positives, a clean sheet and the first point on the board.

    “It was obviously going to be a tough first game against a newly-promoted side but I’m slightly disappointed in our own performance when we had the ball.

    “But we’ll settle for a point because neither side deserved to win or lose.”

    Ross County manager Derek Adams:

    “I thought we coped with Motherwell very well, a team that came off a Champions League game with Panathinaikos.”

    “They are quick on the wings and direct. I’m delighted to keep our 35-game unbeaten run going. We are happy.

    “Motherwell started well and kept good possession. They didn’t open us up and that was important.

    “It was a difficult occasion for us, our first game in the SPL, but we coped well and we are delighted to get the day over and done with and a point on the board.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

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