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    St Mirren draw in pictures

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    Motherwell 1 – 1 St Mirren

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    TV: McCall looks for a reaction

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    TV: Domestic focus for Cummins

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    Norris to ref Saints clash

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    Levante away tickets on sale

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

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    TV: McCall disappointed in defeat

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    Levante defeat in pictures

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    Motherwell 0 – 2 Levante U.D.

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    St Mirren draw in pictures

    Pictures from the 1-1 draw with St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.

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

    [svgallery name=”stmirren260812″]

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    Motherwell 1 – 1 St Mirren

    [tab:Match report]

    Kris Jack at Fir Park

    A late leveller from St Mirren sub Thomas Reilly denied 10-man Motherwell top spot in the SPL at a rain-soaked Fir Park this afternoon.

    A goal in the first minute from Michael Higdon against his former side looked to be enough heading in to injury time before the young Buddie rescued a deserved point.

    Shaun Hutchinson saw red for the second time in as many games following two controversial bookings in the final 10 minutes.

    After a tough defeat to Levante U.D. in the Europa League in midweek, Motherwell looked to bounce back with a decent performance against St Mirren.

    Stuart McCall handed a first SPL start to both Steven Hetherington and Fraser Kerr, as Chris Humphrey dropped to the bench and Tom Hateley missed his first game in 143 appearances. The front line of Murphy, Ojamaa and Higdon would be charged with breaching a St Mirren defence, which proved stubborn in last season’s encounters.

    Danny Lennon was forced in to one significant change, with Darren McGregor suffering another cruciate injury in the defeat to Hibs last week. Sam Parkin and Steven Thompson spearheaded the St Mirren attack, with David van Zanten given a defensive start for the Sunday kick off.

    Having lost the coin toss, ‘Well kicked off facing the Davie Cooper stand, and within 67 seconds had taken the lead. A long ball up the left channel from Stevie Hammell bounced over Henrik Ojamaa and Lee Mair. As the St Mirren defender looked to usher the ball back to his goalkeeper, Higdon stole in to dispossess him and slot under the advancing Craig Samson to give his side the ideal start.

    The early goal spurred the Steelmen on and Jamie Murphy almost added to his goals against Kilmarnock last week but dragged his shot wide of the far post after good build-up from Ojamaa.

    St Mirren looked to get a hold on the game and could have levelled when Imrie’s pacy cross was diverted over by the boot of Adam Cummins when poked toward goal by Steven Thompson.  Paul McGowan then stung the palms of Darren Randolph as Saints looked to haul themselves back into the match.

    Randolph then made an unorthodox stop from Thompson when the goalie was drawn out under a cross to the far side of his box. As he scampered back, the ball broke to Thompson, but his effort was stopped by the Irishman’s heel before pouncing on the loose ball. The Paisley side were coming more and more in to the game and Parkin should have tested Randolph when he had a free header from a Carey ball, but headed it wildly over.

    Murphy was looking impressive in the break and after being forced from left to right, he fed Ojaama inside the box, but the Estonian shot wide of Samson’s left hand post. Saints replied via Kenny McLean who passed up a glorious chance to tie the game when played in by Thomson, but he badly miscues from eight yards, and the chance was gone.

    The first half ended with Higdon falling short of bagging a brace, when Murphy found him on the edge of the box but his low drive was too straight to flummox Samson.

    Randolph was the first keeper called in to action in the second half, diving to push away an effort from 25-yards from McGowan. Kenny McLean then almost caught Randolph out with a cross cum shot, as the second period raged from end to end.

    Ojaama’s trickery was tying up Carey on the left and after ghosting past him to the byline, the Estonian’s cutback for Higdon was cleared by Lee Mair.

    St Mirren sensed an equaliser was imminent and continued to come at Motherwell with Jim Goodwin given space at the edge of the box to crash a low drive just wide.

    Both managers made substitutions, with Murphy, Law and Ojamaa replaced by Humphrey, Carswell and Francis-Angol for Motherwell, while Gary Teale replaced the ineffective Imrie.

    Higdon could have put the game to bed when Humphrey picked him out on the 18 yard line, but his first time effort was blasted over and in to away fans, who jeered their former striker.

    With ten minutes remaining, the game became scrappy with a flurry of bookings, most notably for Shaun Hutchinson, who complained vigorously that Steven Thompson had illegally blocked him off, injuring the defender in the process. As he received treatment, he pointed an accusatory finger at Thompson to show his displeasure and picked up a booking from Mr Norris for letting his frustration boil over and not leaving the pitch quick enough.

    Steven Hetherington then went in to the book for a late challenge on McGowan, before Hutchinson received a second yellow and had to head for an early bath. A ball played to the feet of Reilly was knocked away in a challenge from the big Geordie defender; however, the sub hit the deck to draw the foul.

    Norris had no hesitation in brandishing a yellow followed by a red for the challenge, which seemed harsh. The former Wallsend player did win the ball but caught the youngster in the process. A foul? Yes. A bookable offence; probably not!

    Visibly distraught, he trudged off the park to applause from the home fans, but the supportive chants turned to boos directed at the officials as St Mirren grabbed an equaliser deep in to injury time.

    Hammell and Teale came together with the ball spinning off the Wigan man for what should have been a home throw. Before the ball had even gone over the line, referee Norris was point for a Saints throw despite not having a great position.

    A hanging ball from Teale was met by Thompson, whose downward header was brilliantly kept out by Randolph, but Reilly was first to react to slam home a cruel, but deserved leveller. It was a controversial ending to an entertaining game, but the result deprives Motherwell from taking top spot in the SPL ahead of their trip to Valencia on Thursday.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alastair Reilly at Fir Park

    FULL TIME: Motherwell 1 – 1 St Mirren

    93mins: GOAL, St Mirren equalise. Dejection as Reilly slams home from 5 yards after a scramble.

    90mins: 4 minutes added on.

    89mins: Backs to the wall stuff now as ‘Well look to cling onto the three points.

    87mins: RED CARD: Hutchinson off for a second booking. Didn’t look like much in that.

    83mins: Hutchinson booked for dissent after he went down clutching his face. Hetherington also carded for a tackle on McGowan.

    81mins: Into the last 10 mins….feels like there is still a goal in this one.

    77mins: St Mirren sub; Parkin off for Reilly.

    76mins: Great chance there! Higgy looked like he was going to burst the net from Humphrey’s pass but scooped over.

    75mins: Motherwell Sub: Ojamaa off for Francis-Angol

    72mins: McGowan booked for what looked like a wrestling clothesline on Lasley

    70mins: St Mirren with a penalty claim there. McAusland went down under slight contact from Hammell. Ref was having none of it.

    68mins: St Mirren sub, Teale on for Carey. And a Motherwell sub: Law makes way for Carswell.

    63mins: Motherwell Sub, Chris Humphrey on for Jamie Murphy.

    61mins: And again Randolph has to react quickly to tip a McGowan effort over the bar. St Mirren piling on the pressure.

    59mins: Solid hands there from Randolph to hold Carey’s rasping 30 yard free-kick.

    56mins: Sensational tackle from Hutchinson there. Just as they are about to burst clean through, the big man throws himself at it and clears

    53mins: McLean with a specualtive effort from 35 yards. Almost looked to have caught Randolph out but it sails just over.

    51mins: Murphy, switched to right mid, cuts inside on his left foot but shoots wildly over from a good position.

    48mins: Motherwell starting the brighter of the two sides but Randolph has just made a fantastic reaction save from a long effort at goal.

    45mins: Parkin and Thompson get the second half under way.

    45mins: It’s half-time. Motherwell 1 – 0 St Mirren

    39mins: The busy Fraser Kerr wins a free-kick 30 yards out on the angle. Law to whip in….Nothing comes of it sadly.

    36mins: Bit of a half chance. Ojamaa’s effort from just outside the box is neither a shot nor a cross and Samson happily collects.

    33mins: Ojamaa goes close. Best chance since the goal. Murphy jinks the entire length of the St Mirren half and with the help of Kerr…slides in Ojamaa. The angle is tight but he gets his shot away and it flashes just past.

    30mins: It’s a wet pitch which is helping neither side as when it gets to the final pass,it’s always going wayward. Entertaining game so far

    21mins: St Mirren have had a good spell of possession. They’re throwing in crosses but the ‘Well defence is standing firm.

    18mins: Randolph going for a bit of a wander there. It’s unortodox as he sprints about his box after the ball. Still 1-0 though.

    17mins: Great chance for St Mirren. McGowan gets in behind Hammell and his effort is beaten away by Randolph straight to Thompson…..Thankfully Cummins gets in to clear for a corner.

    9mins: Mair booked for a clumsy challenge on Murphy. Looks a dangerous position for the free-kick. Hammell floated it in but Cummins couldn’t get enough power in his header and Samson collects with ease.

    7mins: Up the other end, Imrie whips in a cross and Thompson gets in front ot Cummins to divert goalwards. Somehow goes out for a corner.

    5mins: Murphy being utilised in the hole behind Ojamaa and Higdon and he’s already causing problems. Looks dangerous.

    4mins: Kerr with some neat play with Lasley wins a corner. Samson spills Hetherington’s delivery but mops up at the second attempt.

    1min: GOAL!!!! Michael Higdon opens the scoring! Bit of a nothing ball up front which Ojamaa flicks on. Higdon shows his strength and brushes off his man before sliding the ball home.

    1min: Teams switching ends. The Steelmen shooting towards the Cooper Stand in the first half. Game now underway.


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I was disappointed for the lads and didn’t want to see them around (referee Euan) Norris at the end of the game,” he said.

    “There’s no doubt that St Mirren deserved a share of the points but we’re disappointed in the way that it came about.

    “Overall we weren’t good enough in possession and struggled to keep the ball.”

    St Mirren manager Danny Lennon:

    “It is a very difficult place to come and this was a very valuable point.

    “We can look at Motherwell and aspire to reach the levels of consistency they have in order to qualify for Europe.

    “We got off to the worst possible start and that’s two weeks in a row we’ve been punished for brave defending, but the response we got after that was great.

    “We certainly deserved something from the game and I was thinking before the end that we would take something from it regardless of the result.”


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    TV: McCall looks for a reaction

    Well boss Stuart McCall has challenged his players to bounce back from midweek regret to build on encouraging early-season domestic form.

    Despite an unbeaten run in the league, including a good draw in the Highlands and an excellent showing at Rugby Park, ‘Well have not been able to make inroads in continental competitions.

    Back to back defeats by Greek giants Panathinaikos was followed by a disappointing 2-0 reverse at the hands of La Liga side Lavente leaving McCall’s men with it all to do if they are to extend their Euro adventure.

    The 40-timse capped former Scotland International is glad his side have a game so soon after Thursday’s defeat and has called for a reaction from his players.

    [pullquote]Speaking from experience, when you’ve had a poor game, you just can’t wait for the next one to get it out of your system and we’ve got that with the game on Sunday.[/pullquote]

    “I’m looking for a reaction and a positive one,” he told MFC TV.

    “Speaking from experience, when you’ve had a poor game, you just can’t wait for the next one to get it out of your system and we’ve got that with the game on Sunday.

    “Looking back (at the games between the sides last season) and talking from our point of view, Samson has had a couple of great games against us with some outstanding saves.

    “There’s been a lot nil-nil’s and really tight results. They are probably similar to us in the fact they’ve got good experienced pros with a mixture of young talent. They have individual players who can open you up and we’ve got to be aware of that.

    “It can go a couple of ways but we’ve just go to concentrate on ourselves and make sure we do the basics right.”


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    TV: Domestic focus for Cummins

    Young defender Adam Cummins is adamant ‘Well must put Euro disappointment to one side and concentrating on domestic matters.

    The Fir Parkers turned in a below-par performance and were comfortably beaten 2-0 at home by La Liga side Levante on Thursday, leaving the tie hanging by a thread.

    But former Evertonian Cummins, who made his first-team debut late last season against Aberdeen, hopes the Steelmen can bounce back against Danny Lennon’s men whilst at the same time maintaining his own level of performance.

    [pullquote]Tomorrow will be a different test to the European games but it’s a test I’m looking forward to[/pullquote]

    He told MFC TV: “A win on Sunday would be a very good result and do-able if we play well.

    “We’ve just got to put the European stuff to bed and concentrate on the league now. We had a great win at Kilmarnock last week and got a few of the younger lads on including myself so I think we’re playing well in the league and we’ve got to push on and get the three points tomorrow.

    “Tomorrow will be a different test to the European games but it’s a test I’m looking forward to and hopefully I can perform as I did in the previous games and hope to do in the future games.

    “I think I’ve had a bit of luck and a bit of the gaffer showing faith in me. I’ve been happy with the way I’ve been playing and hopefully I can keep going and push for a start every week.”


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    Norris to ref Saints clash

    Referee for this Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with St Mirren at Fir Park will be Euan Norris.

    The 34-year old will be a familiar face to Fir Park fans having taken charge of four matches last season.

    He started with the 4-2 away success against Dunfermline at East End Park in late August, the 1-0 win at Easter Road in October, the 3 – 0 defeat at Ibrox in January and, most recently, the 6-0 demolition of Saints’ big rivals Morton in the Scottish Cup in early February..

    He also handled two games the previous season too…

    The first, a 0-0 draw with Inverness was instantly forgettable. However, the other was one that will live long in the memory. Motherwell beat Championship-chasing Celtic 2-0 at Fir Park; former striker John Sutton netting a brace.

    Going back a further year, Euan also handed two matches. He was the man in the middle when Motherwell edged out Falkirk 1-0 at Fir Park. Lukas Jutkiewicz got the only goal of the game, heading home a corner from the left after 18 minutes.

    His other game that campaign was also at Fir Park; a stormy affair between Motherwell and Hibs.

    The Steelmen won the game 1-0 thanks to a Jamie Murphy goal eight minutes from time but the game was marred by a red card for Liam Miller for a challenge on Jim O’Brien midway through the first forty-five.

    Thankfully, FIFA referee Norris usually likes to keep his cards in his pocket with only twenty-two cautions handed out in all those games, with nine flashed at a ‘Well players.

    Euan will be ably assisted by Stuart Stevenson and Gary Cheyne with Iain Brines on fourth official duties.

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    Levante away tickets on sale

    Tickets for the Europa League Play-Off Round, Second Leg with Levante U.D. at the Estadi Ciutat de València are on sale from the from the Fir Park Ticket Office priced at:

    ALL TICKETS:                                     €35 / £28
    • Anyone purchasing a ticket will be required to display photographic ID (i.e. Passport of Drivers Licence).
    • Anyone purchasing multiple tickets with the one ID will be responsible for all tickets purchased.
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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

    Goals from Juanlu and sub Nabil El Zhar give La Liga side Lavente U.D. a 2-0 first-leg lead to take back to Spain.


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    TV: McCall disappointed in defeat

    A deflated Stuart McCall couldn’t hide disappointment as Motherwell lost out to La Liga side Levante in the Play-off Round of the UEFA Europa League.

    Despite playing well in patches and giving 100% effort from the first minute, Motherwell were largely outclassed by a superior side from a superior league.

    A goal in either half gave the visitors a commanding lead to take back to Spain for the retun leg and McCall knows his men face a mammoth task to turn the tie around.

    [pullquote]They were the better side technically and kept the ball really well but having said that we weren’t as good as I’d have liked us to be.[/pullquote]

    He told MFC TV: “We’re disappointed that we never got the heights that we did against Panathinaikos.

    “They were the better side technically and kept the ball really well but having said that we weren’t as good as I’d have liked us to be.

    “We’re playing a side that beat Real Madrid so we aren’t playing mugs. They’re a class outfit not only on the ball but defensively very strong.

    “The first fifteen minutes we got ahead of steam with some balls across the box. Henrik’s had a chance but the defender has made a really good last ditch tackle but in fairness our possession of the ball wasn’t good enough and they were far better than us.”


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    Levante defeat in pictures

    Pictures from the 2-0 defeat by Levante U.D. in the Europa League Play-Off, First Leg at The Fir Park.

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

    [svgallery name=”levante23082012″]

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    Motherwell 0 – 2 Levante U.D.

    [tab:Match report]

    Kris Jack at Fir Park

    Motherwell’s chances of progressing to the group stages of the Europa League suffered a massive blow as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at home to Levante.

    Goals from Juanlu and Nabil El Zhar either side of half time leave the Steelmen with a uphill task if they are to get anything from the return leg in Valencia next week. A late red card for Shaun Hutchinson will also leave Stuart McCall with a defensive quandary for the away tie.

    For the first of this season’s Europa League ties, Stevie Hammell returned to the starting line up having missed the win at Kilmarnock through suspension. Adam Cummins came in for the injured Simon Ramsden, with the impressive Zaine Francis-Angol going back to the bench. With Chris Humphrey, Henrik Ojamaa, Jamie Murphy and Michael Higdon all in attack, it was a very offensive minded side squaring up to Levante.

    The visitors, minus Pape Diop through a Visa issue, wrung a few changes from the side which drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid in their La Liga opener. In came Navas and Lell, for Munua, and Sunday’s goal scorer El Zhar. Greek forward Theofanis Gekas, fresh from starring at Euro 2012 was also given a starting berth, for Levante’s first foray in to European competition.

    Despite having a decent amount of the ball, Motherwell almost fell behind in the first ten minutes when Gekas nipped in front of Hutchinson to steer a Juanlu cross just wide from eight yards. Motherwell’s reply was instant and Chris Humphrey had a great chance to set up one of four team mates after beating David Navarro to the byline but instead of squaring the ball, he opted to fire right at the keeper at his front post.

    Defender Navarro was next to threaten for the visitors when he rose unmarked at a corner but his header was way over Randolph’s bar. Vicente Iborra then tested the Irish keeper form 20 yards with a low drive from the edge of the box, which the Well stopper got down to with ease as the La Liga side turned up the pressure.

    Chances were sparse for Motherwell and Tom Hateley could have hit the target when the ball fell to him on the edge of the box but his volley was hit in to the ground, spinning wide and out of play. Down the other end and the tricky Michel then brought another fine save from Randolph after latching on to a pass and pulling the trigger just inside the box, only to see his dig punched away by the former Charlton stopper.

    Finnish referee then brandished two yellow cards in quick succession, one to Lasley for a late lunge on Michel, who was also carded a few moments later for protesting to vehemently when bout down by Hateley.

    A strong challenge from Adam Cummins prevented a great chance for Karabelas, who had to be replaced by El Zhar due to the force of the tackle. No sooner had he entered the fray than Levante took the lead just before half time.

    A high ball forward to Gekas looked to find the Greek offside, but as the defence looked for the flag, they failed to spot Juanlu running from an onside position; bear down on Randolph and slot home for the opener. It was a sucker punch for the ‘Well, as despite gifting Levante so many chances, they had looked composed when in possession.

    The second half started with El Zhar looking to make a mark on the game, and only a great sprawling save at the feet of the Moroccan by Randolph stopped him from doubling the visitors’ lead.

    Henrik Ojamaa then had Motherwell’s best chances of the game. A nice reverse ball from Nicky Law saw the Estonian find space in the box, but his shot was expertly blocked by the sliding Ballesteros. Levante couldn’t clear the lines and the ball bounced back to Hateley, who squared for Ojamaa, but his side footed effort was to tame to trouble Navas.

    Humphrey then hared up the right wing to flash across in to the six yard box, but a flick of the boot from Navarro deflected it away from both the on-rushing Higdon and Murphy. There was a swell in the crowd noise as Motherwell looked to level, and Ojamaa should have done better than blaze wildly over when space opened up in front of him at the edge of the box.

    Instead, they fell further behind through an excellent team goal. Left back Christian Lell managed to get past Stevie Hammell and after cutting to the byline, squared for El Zhar to side foot him from 12 yards.

    The stuffing was knocked out of The Steelmen after starting the half so well, and with a two goal away cushion, the visitors took their foot off the gas.

    El Zhar still looked eager to create, and was unlucky to see an acrobatic effort bounce wide after a ball in to the box was headed up in the air. Bob McHugh and Fraser Kerr came on for Ojamaa and Humphrey, as McCall looked to change things up, but despite some neat play at times, neither could muster anything meaningful.

    Motherwell’s misery was compounded when Shaun Hutchinson received a straight red card for a last man challenge on Gekas at the edge of the box. It was harsh on the young stopper who had played so competently alongside Cummins, but by the letter of the law he had to go. From the resulting free kick, Randolph pulled off a great reaction save, as Barkero’s free kick took a wicked deflection on its way through.

    The game was over as contest, and as the final whistle blew, the home fans acknowledged the efforts of their side against a superior Spanish team full of quality and ability.

    The 0-2 score line means that Motherwell need to be much more clinical and offensive in Valencia next week, if they are to progress to the next stage of the Europa League.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alastair Reilly at Fir Park

    FULL TIME: Motherwell 0 – 2 Levante.

    90mins: Entering the final minute now….

    85mins– Motherwell sub- Carswell on for Law.

    83mins: Sorranno tests Randolph with a left footed effort from 15 yards. He spills it but collects at the second time of asking.

    79mins: Hateley booked for a late challenge on Iborra.

    78mins: Barkero curls a free-kick from just outside the box goalbound. Great reaction from Randolph though to make the save.

    RED CARD: Hutchinson is sent off for a last man challenge on Gekas. Right decision and you can feel Fir Park suddenly becoming very deflated indeed.

    75mins: Levante sub – Juanlu off for Sorranno

    71mins: Iborra booked for a shirt tug on McHugh

    69mins: Another dangerous looking free-kick. Levante play a clever offside trap and the chance is gone.

    67mins: Motherwell subs – McHugh on for Ojamaa, and Fraser Kerr on for Humphrey.

    65mins: Levante Sub: Michel off for Pallardo.

    62mins: GOAL- Levante make it 2 through El Zhar. A bit of a sucker punch. We were coming right back into the tie but they break and El Zhar is left free to slot well past Randolph from 10.

    58mins: Motherwell upping the “Levante” now. (pun of the night?) The Steelmen are all over their Spanish opposition.

    56mins: Fir Park has reached it’s loudest all night! Law slid in Ojamaa who found himself in a great position to shoot. His effort was Goalbound until Navarro slid in to clear. Straight after, he found himself in the same position but dragged it just past. Seconds later, Humphrey drilled a teasing ball across the face of goal and Higdon missed out by inches as he slid in.

    54mins: Free-kick in a dangerous position out wide for Motherwell….delivery cut out at near post as 3 waited to nod home.

    52mins: Randolph to the rescue again! This time he just beats Gekas to the ball and manages to slide the ball to safety.

    51mins: From our own free-kick we lose possession cheaply and get hit on the counter. Thankfully El Zhar’s pass is over hit.

    50mins: El Zhar booked for tugging on Cummin’s shirt.

    45mins: Second half is underway.

    HT: Levante just shading the game so far. With a big push in the second half, there is no reason why Motherwell can’t score tonight.

    HALF-TIME: Motherwell 0 -1 Levante (Juanlu 42)

    45mins: 2 minutes added on.

    42mins: GOAL: Levante have opened the scoring through Juanlu. A harmless looking ball over the top found it’s way to Juanlu who was aided by Gekas appearing to be offside. Finished well.

    38mins: Levante sub: Karabelas off for El Zhar. Hopefully not as bad as it looks for Karabelas.

    35mins: It’s actually Karabelas that was down. Stretchered off and doesn’t look to be coming back on.

    34mins: Solid, solid challenge by Cummins leaves Iborra writhing in agony. Great tackle though and no foul given.

    32mins: Michel booked for waving his imaginary yellow card at the ref after he thought Hateley should have been punished harsher.

    28mins: Levante hitting on the counter now. Juanlu had plenty of time to swing ball in to Gekas but passed it to Randolph instead.

    23mins: Booking for Lasley. First tackle of the night buts finds his way to the refs book after he tried to regain possession.

    21mins: Another good chance for Levante. Lell found himself in the box with acres of space and saw his placed effort slide just past.

    17mins: Bit of a scare there. Randolph has to look lively to beat away a left-footed Michel effort. Just before that though, Tom Hateley had a decent crack on goal from 25 yards. His bouncing effort sailed past though.

    13mins: Deligthful delivery there from Hateley. It’s right in the danger zone but with no takers yet again.

    11mins: Levante win the first corner of the night. Navarro has a free header but it ends up well over the bar.

    8mins: Very healthy crowd here tonight. Already seems far louder than previous games. Great vocal backing thus far!

    7mins: ‘Well are right up for this! Humphrey again down the right wing causing problems. Just lacking the final ball as yet.

    6mins: Fir Park beginning to rock now. Murphy sprints down the wing, buoyed b the vocal East Stand, but his delivery can’t quite find Higgy.

    1mins: And we’re straight into the action. Humphrey causing some problems down the right and when the ball falls to Lasley, his effort is neither a shot nor a cross and the keeper saves. Up the other end, a half chance for Gekas, who ends up shooting harmlessly wide.

    Kick-off: The first half in now underway. ‘Mon the ‘Well!


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I thought they were better than Panathinaikos, technically they were excellent on the ball, but we never reached the heights that we did against Panathinaikos.

    “I came and sat here after the Panathinaikos game and was proud and thought we played particularly well.

    “There is a sense of disappointment tonight because as good a side as they are, we didn’t pass the ball as well as we could. We started off okay, we had a few crosses early on, and had a decent tempo, then after about 20 minutes they took control.

    “On saying that we were looking to get to half-time goalless then maybe change it a bit.

    “It’s the way we lost the goal that deflated us. There’s no doubt it’s a fair goal. The lad in the middle was offside but in fairness we didn’t react to the winger running from an onside position to score.

    “We had to lift them and we got a good reaction for 15 minutes, great bit of defensive work when Ojamaa had our only clear sight of goal, and thereafter we didn’t defend the second goal. They got in behind us and they showed the quality with the cutback. We had a couple of opportunities to pick better passes and we didn’t, and they did.

    “We can have no complaints, they were far better than us on the night.” 

    Levante U.D. manager Juan Ignacio Martinez:

    “It was a tight game and they put us under a lot of pressure. At times it looked like it would have been more like 1-1 than 2-0,” he said.

    “We have certainly made a giant step towards qualifying. We played an excellent game, and a fantastic first half.”


    [poll id=”111″]