Pictures from the 1-0 defeat by Dundee Utd in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.
Pictures from the 1-0 defeat by Dundee Utd in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.
Kris Jack at Fir Park
A late Johnny Russell sucker punch clinched all three points for Dundee United as Motherwell were once more left to rue missed chances.
The defeat sees the Tannadice go level with ‘Well in the SPL, robbing the hosts of the chance to go second.
Henrik Ojamaa hit the woodwork twice as Motherwell failed to continue from where they had left off on Saturday.
Having secured a first victory in four games, Stuart McCall kept faith in the side that dispatched of St Johnstone 3-1 in Perth. Jamie Murphy was looking to grab his first goal at Fir Park for the season after netting a brace at McDiarmid Park; Euan Murray replaced Adam Asghar amongst the subs.
Former ‘Well defender Brian McLean came in for Peter Houston’s United side, in place of Barry Douglas, in the only change from the side that snatched a late, late draw against Celtic on Sunday.
Gary Mackay-Steven, who was amongst the goals at Tannadice, started from the bench after a long injury lay off as did recent recruit Rudi Skacel.
The first half was full of half chances for both sides, with Murphy looking keen to get on the scoresheet. He was given an early opportunity to open the scoring after cutting in from the left hand side, only to see his effort parried wide by Czierzniak.
The United keeper was then on hand to make a great point blank save from Murphy after Michael Higdon had knocked Chris Humphrey’s cross down in to his path. From six yards, the Polish stopper somehow blocked out Murphy’s first time effort.
United should have done better when a breakaway saw Johnny Russell send Stuart Armstrong through on goal, but he could only blast into the stand when he should have worked Randolph at least.
The Steelmen were kept to efforts from the edge of the box as Ojamaa, Murphy, Lasley and Hateley all tried to score form distance, but couldn’t find a way past Czierzniak. Jon Daly headed wide for United from a good Keith Watson cross, before Gavin Gunning forced Randolph in to a double save from a set piece.
Richie Ryan was felled at the edge of the box and Gunning’s blast was well stopped by Randolph, with Jon Daly’s follow up also blocked out superbly by the Irish keeper’s legs.
The best chance of the half fell to Henrik Ojamaa, who, after roasting Watson on the left drove in to the box to crash a shot high past Czierzniak only to see it cannon back off the bar and out.
It took a while for the second half to come to life, and when it did, the roof almost came off Fir Park, as Ojamaa was once more denied by the woodwork. Ryan lost possession 30 yards from his own goal, as Lasley nipped in to play a great pass to the Estonian. His shot from the angle had Czierzniak rooted as it slithered across the greasy surface only to bounce off the base of the far post.
Stuart Armstrong then had two chances to give Houston’s team the lead, but his first effort on the break went well wide and the second was deflected past by Hateley. A series of corners ensued and from the final Willo Flood delivery, the ball looked to have been forced over the line. However, referee Alan Muir and his linesman opted not to give the goal, as ‘Well looked to be served a let off.
Michael Higdon was then in the right place at the right time to fire Chris Humphrey’s low cross on target, but he could neither get the power or the accuracy to beat the keeper. Humphrey then flashed a great low cross just wide after a neat 1-2 with Nicky Law a the edge if the box, as Well looked to make their pressure count.
Instead, it was the visitors who snatched the lead and the points after 83 minutes. With Mackay-Steven and Skacel on as subs, United’s attacking options were bolstered, and after both were involved in an attack which broke down, Keith Watson floated a great ball to the back post, catching the ‘Well defence on its heels. The ball dropped over Jon Daly, right on to the head of the onrushing Johnny Russell who crashed the ball in off the underside of the bar.
It was a well taken goal, which takes Peter Houston and his side back up the A9 the happier of the managers. Stuart McCall’s attention now turns to the Dundee game this weekend to get his team back to winning ways.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Fir Park
FULL TIME: Motherwell 0 – 1 Dundee United
90mins+2: Cummins booked
90mins: Corner to Motherwell…… comes to nothing. Need some magic now.
90mins: 3 minutes added on….
87mins: Motherwell sub: Daley on for Humphrey
86mins: Dundee United sub: Russell off for Millar
83mins: GOAL: Russell loops a header over Randolph to send United in front.
81mins: Law goes for the spectacular curler into the top corner……he very nearly finds it……the corner of the stand that is.
79mins: Motherwell and Dundee Utd subs: McHugh on for Ojamaa and Skacel on for Rankin
78mins: Should have been! Humphrey and Law link-up well out wide but there are no takers of the cross.
75mins: ‘Well looking to hit on the break and almost did. Humphrey burst clear and squared to Higdon. He shoots first time but easily saved
72mins: Rankin booked for handball as Motherwell broke.
70mins: Dundee United sub: Ryan makes way for Mackay-Steven
65mins: Oohhh, bit of controversy there. United fans thought their team had scored but linesman says it wasn’t over the line.
64mins: Good chance for United! Armstrong, dangerous all night, cuts in and see’s his shot deflected just past.
60mins: Gunning rightly booked for hauling down Murphy just outside the box. Chance here for a penalty as he hit the deck. Hard to tell from up here though!
56mins: Oh drama! First Ojamaa hits the post. The ball is kept in play and as Law made his way into the box, the FP crowd claimed…
51mins: Murphy’s touch lets him down at the vital moment after Ojamaa slid him through. Unlucky, surface doesn’t help.
48mins: Early pressure from United. Armstrong has been a nuisance all night and wins a corner off Lasley. No danger from corner.
46mins: It’s raining here at Fir Park. Not just raining….RAINING! Tricky surface now….
Second half underway. Come on the ‘Well!
A great double save from Randolph to deny United and Ojamaa’s strike off the bar + Murphy’s early chance from close were the highlights
HALF TIME: Motherwell 0-0 Dundee Utd. Entertaining game and both sides will maybe feel they should be on the scoresheet.
43mins: Ojamaa drifts out left to collect the ball. He jinks towards goal but his shot is waayyyyy over the bar.
40mins: Ryan hits a speculative effort from about 30 yards. Sails well wide.
39mins: Almost the breakthrough! Ojamaa strikes from distance and is denied by the bar. Great effort!
36mins: Lasley does ok with an effort on the edge of the box. It’s on his weak foot though and never troubled the Cierzniak.
35mins: Still 0-0 then. The curse of the twitter comment striking again!
25mins: Should probably be a goal by now! Humphrey is next up to try is luck. It’s well over but it’s just a matter of time now surely?!
23mins: Chances just keep coming! This time it is Hateley driving forward to then cut in on his weaker foot. It’s an ok strike but is saved.
19mins: Watson chopped down about 25 yards out. Gunning to take…..it’s a sizzler but Randolph does superbly to save it! And the rebound! Oh that is just fantastic goalkeeping!
17mins: Murphy continues to threaten! Similar to his last chance, the exact same actually. Corner leads to nothing.
14mins: Unlucky! Murphy fed in by Law but is forced wide by the United defence. He managed to shoot but it is tipped past for a corner.
10mins: Decent chance for United there. Daly powered in a header at the back post which went just wide. Cummins hurt but will carry on.
8mins: Ojamaa spins his man 25 yards out. He shoots but his effort is tame and well wide. Decent game so far.
5mins: United break up the pitch and Armstrong finds himself 18 yards out. Fails to hit the target and lets Motherwell off.
5mins: Great chance! Law curled in a cross at the back post which Higdon controlled and squared to Murphy. From 10 yards, Cierzniak saves.
2mins: Armstrong shoots from 30 yards….never enough power to beat a keeper like Randolph though.
1mins: Almost a bit of deja-vu there! Murphy driving straight at the United defence gets a shot off from 25 yards. Good hands from Cierzniak.
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“We’ll play a lot worse than that and lose. I found it very difficult to say anything negative other than the result.
“It was two good teams out there. How we have failed to score I don’t know.”
Dundee Utd manager Peter Houston:
“On a difficult night I thought both teams tried to serve up a lot of football. One wee bit of quality has won us the game.
“It’s not the first time Johnny Russell has scored a goal like that, he scored one at McDiarmid Park last season that was the exact same.
“I don’t think it was a header across goal, he was trying to score. It deceived the goalkeeper and went over the top of his head but for me that shows great quality.
Steelmen boss Stuart McCall reckons it will be another close encounter when ‘Well face Dundee Utd at Fir Park tomorrow (Wednesday).
Although both teams have struggled in recent times, Motherwell halted their run with a fine 3-1 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.
Peter Houston’s men bounced back from their Cup exit to Hearts with a scintillating comeback against Celtic at Tannadice, scoring twice in the closing stages to secure a deserved draw.
The teams go head to head for the first time this season and McCall is sure it’ll be a tight affair.
[pullquote]I think it will be a very tight game, although I find myself saying this at every press conference because there is really nothing between the teams in the league.[/pullquote]
He said: “The preparations have been good however, like I keep saying, we don’t become a bad team overnight but likewise we don’t become world beaters.
“I think it will be a very tight game, although I find myself saying this at every press conference because there is really nothing between the teams in the league. They have had highs and lows recently.
“I’m sure they would have been looking forward to get through to the next round of the cup but went out on penalties, which is a massive blow. But then to fight back from 2-0 down against the champions when it looked like there was no way back showed they have got great spirit and it will give them confidence. Mackay-Stevens is back for them now and Skacel, Daly and Russell are all available who can all cause us problems. It will be an entertaining game and a very close one.
“We’ll take confidence from Saturdays result but we’ve got to build on it and look to keep collecting points.”
‘Well boss Stuart McCall has ruled himself the running for the vacant manager’s job at the Scottish FA.
McCall, capped 40 times by his country including a goal at Italia 90 against Sweden, was quoted by some bookmakers as fourth favourite.
However, the 48-year old has distanced himself from the role and is fully committed to his job at Fir Park.
[pullquote]I am flattered to be even linked with it but at this moment in time my job is at Motherwell.[/pullquote]
“If the job were available in ten years time then it would be something I would be honoured to do,” he said.
“I am flattered to be even linked with it but at this moment in time my job is at Motherwell. There are some terrific and very capable candidates out there who I am sure will do a terrific job if appointed.
“If you look at who they has been mentioned – Walter Smith, Alex McLeish, Gordon Strachan, Owen Coyle and Joe Jordan, they are all top coaches and top football men.
“Whoever gets the role will have my full backing. Although my accent may not sound like it, I am fiercely patriotic about my country and we all hope things pick up.”
Motherwell were today handed a boost with the new Steven Saunders can step up his rehabilitation in the coming weeks.
The Scotland International cap is likely to resume training in a fortnight’s time after a couple of weeks of intense running.
The news comes at an ideal time for the Steelmen with Shaun Hutchinson, Fraser Kerr and Euan Murray all sidelined through injury.
Saunders told motherwellfc.co.uk, “The surgeon has given me the all clear to up my running and do some intense leg work.
“I can now see the end of all this and physiologically, that’s a big boost. I’ll do more weights, more running and, all being well, I’ll be back in training in about two weeks.
“The surgeon has been delighted with the progress and has now left the remained of the recovery with John Porteous here at Motherwell.
“If I can get back to training within two weeks, then hopefully it won’t be long before I can get some action for the U20s with the ultimate aim of getting back into the first-team.”
Young Liverpudlian Adam Cummins says Motherwell have all the motivation they need going into the Scottish Cup 4th Round clash with Aberdeen.
The Steelmen were paired with Craig Brown’s side in this afternoon’s draw at Hampden, the same side that sent Motherwell out at the Quarter Final stage last season winning 2-1 at Fir Park.
And the former Evertonian admits that match, and the 3-3 draw earlier in the campaign, will be fresh in the minds come the start of December.
“It’s a tough draw for us,” he told MFC TV immediately after the draw.
“They knocked us out at the Quarter Final stage last year and we will use the disappointment we felt after that match to spur us on.
“We are desperate to put that right. Even the 3-3 draw earlier this season, if you look at that match we were comfortable but lost two late goals. I remember their manager came out after the match and said we were the best team they had faced.
“That meant little to us on the bus on the way down the road so there is plenty of determination amongst our squad to go there and give a good account of ourselves. We also want to win this for the fans – they deserve a really good Cup run so it’s certainly one to look forward to.”
Motherwell have been drawn to face Aberdeen at Pittodrie in the Fourth Round of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
The full draw:
Aberdeen v Motherwell
Partick Thistle v Dunfermline
Kilmarnock v Queen of the South
Hibernian v Hearts
Airdrie or Raith v Deveronvale
Turriff United v Albion Rovers or Morton
Livingston v Dundee
Rangers v Elgin City
Forfar or Nairn County v Ayr United
Ross County v Inverness
Celtic v Inverurie or Arbroath
Dumbarton v Hamilton
Cowdenbeath v St Johnstone
Stranraer or Queen’s Park v Dundee United
Stenhousemuir or Berwick v Falkirk
St Mirren v Brechin or Bonnyrigg Rose
Ties to be played on the weekend of December 1st / 2nd 2012.
Motherwell’s proposed Under 20s match with Inverness, due to take place tomorrow night at Fir Park, has been postponed due to fixture congestion.
The Steelmen have a first-team match against Dundee Utd scheduled for Wednesday and the decision has been made to re-arrange the match with the Highlanders at a later date still to be confirmed.
A reminder for fans in possession of a ‘Match Abandoned’ voucher that it should be used to enter the re-arranged match this Wednesday night.
Entry for this game will be by Match Abandoned Voucher, pay at the turnstiles or by tickets purchased at the ticket office.
If you weren’t able to attend the original match or weren’t in the ground at the time of the abandonment, then you can use Voucher 5 to enter the re-arranged.
2012/13 season ticket holders who were at the match but did not take a voucher will gain entry but only by contacting the club prior to the match and, ideally, not on the day of the game as the ticket office will obviously be very busy as no voucher from Season Ticket will be used.
Highlights from McDiarmid Park after a Jamie Murphy brace and a brilliant Nicky Law chip handed Motherwell all three points in Perth.