Kris Jack at Pittodrie
For the second time this season, Motherwell lost a goal in the dying seconds to deny them a win at Pittodrie as Aberdeen came from behind to earn a Scottish Cup replay.
Jamie Murphy’s 80th minute wonder strike was the match’s only real moment of quality, but was not enough to see ‘Well through to the next round of the Cup, as Niall McGinn stooped to head home a 90th minute leveller.
It was another late blow for the Steelmen, but it does set up an enticing replay at Fir Park in ten days time.
Stuart McCall was forced to make three changes to the side, with Lee Hollis making his first start of the season, standing in for the suspended Darren Randolph. Shaun Hutchinson missed out through injury and was replaced in defence by Fraser Kerr and with Stevie Hammell back to fitness, the veteran gained his starting spot ahead of Zaine Francis-Angol, as the only other change.
A large band of Motherwell supporters had made the trek north for the game and were in fine voice throughout the game, which was bereft of many clear cut chances for either side.
Indeed, the best of the first half chances came in the opening minutes, where Hollis earned his corn with two decent saves. The first came after a ball was whipped in by Johnny Hayes from the right hand side and poked goalwards by Rory Fallon from six yards. Somehow the former Airdrie keeper kept the ball out before it was cleared to safety.
A few moments later, Johnny Hayes battled with Adam Cummins to hit a dangerous bouncing strike from distance, which looked to have dipped awkwardly in front of Hollis but, somehow, he managed to turn it round his right hand post.
Fresh from his scintillating strike in midweek, Chris Humphrey tried his luck from distance again, but looked on in vain as Jamie Langfield got a finger tip to his drive from 25 yards. Magennis then tried a similar strike for the hosts, but it was a much easier take for Hollis.
The one time Aberdeen managed to get in behind the ‘Well back line, Johnny Hayes fired just over the bar from 16 yards, shaking off Cummins in the process.
Henrik Ojamaa was as bustling as ever and almost created the opening goal, when he robbed Russell Anderson who had dallied on the ball in the box. The Estonian stole the ball and teed up Jamie Murphy, who dragged his shot from 18 yards narrowly wide of Langfield’s upright.
A Tom Hateley free-kick just before the end of the half dropped on to the top of the net from the wing, as the opening period ended goalless.
The second half took a while to get going, with the first chance for either side coming after Keith Lasley was fouled right on the edge of the Aberdeen box. However, Hateley’s free kick had the power and dip but was just off target.
The game devolved in to a bit of a turgid midfield battle with both sides trading possession without creating much in the way of goalmouth action. A dig from 20 yards from Stevie Hammell was deflected wide as Motherwell looked to turn the screw and moments later they got the goal they were looking for in spectacular fashion.
A ball up the right channel saw Ojamaa outmuscle Reynolds to lay the ball off to Michael Higdon. The big striker helped in on to Murphy, who went past his man and cut inside, take a few touches to compose himself and unleashed an unstoppable drive, high beyond Langfield and in to the top corner.
Murphy and his teammates celebrated his strike in front of the large travelling crowd, having given ‘Well a stunning lead.
However, almost inevitably with the last kick of the ball, the Dons forced a replay to keep their own Cup dreams alive. Andy Considine surged up the left wing and put in an inch perfect cross for man of the moment Niall McGinn to stoop and head home from eight yards, with Hollis at full stretch.
The home fans heaved a sigh of relief as Willie Collum blew for full time a few moments after the restart, as the game finished honours even between Aberdeen and Motherwell at Pittodrie for the second time this season.
[tab:As it happened]
Alan Burrows at Pittodrie
FT: Aberdeen 1 – 1 Motherwell. For the second time, Aberdeen net late to save a draw. Unreal.
90mins: Can you believe it, Aberdeen have scored late again. McGinn allowed the freedom of the box to head home. Unreal!
GOAL Aberdeen! Niall McGinn…
88mins: Dons sub. Anderson goes off and is replaced by striker Cammy Smith. Dons are gonna go for it in the last few minutes.
86mins: Header from Shaughnessy is on target but Hollis is in the right place to pluck it out there air.
83mins: Few ‘Well fans with their tops off over in the South Stand. Mental… I’ve got four layers on and it’s baltic.
81mins: Crowd: 6061
80mins: A great counter attack from Motherwell. Murphy cuts in from the left hand side and curls a belter high into the top corner.
GOOOOALLLLLLLLL Jamie Murphy!
76mins: Cross from Hammell forces Langfield to tip round for a corner. Think that might have been dropping out anyway.
74mins: Motherwell follow that with a shot from Hammell the spins out for a goal kick. Home fans not happy as Collum points for a corner.
74mins: A cross from Hateley finds Cummins who was up from a previous corner. Youngster heads into the ground and the chance is gone.
70mins: Dons are on top again. Vernon shot from about 35 yards trundles harmlessly wide right enough.
68mins: A shot from Russell Anderson from the edge of the box actually ends up out for a shy, further up the pitch. Not easy to do that.
67mins: Free-kick from Hateley from the edge of the box curls over the bar. Langfield at full stretch but it was always going over.
63mins: Sloppy play from Higdon. Robbed by Reynolds, the former ‘Well man strides forward but his shot is blocked. ‘Well need to up it.
59mins: Aberdeen have turned it up a notch in the last few minutes. ‘Well need to match them in every battle across the pitch.
57mins: A cross in towards the near post. Kerr slices it out for a corner via the outside of the post. Close one there…
55mins: Scrappy stuff in this half so far. Both teams guilty of being poor in possession, Few silly fouls too…
51mins: If it’s possible, I think it has got even colder since the end of the first half. Summer football anyone?
49mins: Think we’re back – nothing much has happened to be honest. Still 0-0 – Dons on the attack.
47mins: We’re struggling for a signal now for some reason. Stick with us…
46mins: We’re back underway – WiFi goes… Stick with us whilst we try and get it sorted…
Half Time: It’s all-square at Pittodrie. 0-0
45mins: Free-kick for Aberdeen in a dangerous area. Again looked like quite a soft one but a real chance for the Dons.
44mins: Game has crashed a bit as a contest. Scrappy from both sides – minute or so to the break.
43mins: Shout of the match so far. From a Dons throw. “Into his feet Josh; right down the line”. How does that work? #lowthrow #confused
40mins: Michael Higdon wins a free-kick from the ref for a climb. That’s not a miss-print folks. It actually happened. Real JFK moment!
34mins: Never fear pop fans, they are back. The White Stripes would be proud of their efforts. Never seen anything like this, ever.
33mins: In a bizarre twist of events, it looks like a whole brass band is currently getting moved by the Police. Yes, you read that right.
30mins: Ojamaa robs Reynolds at the edge of the area. He cuts it back for Murphy but his shot bounces wide of Langfield’s post.
29mins: Whilst everyone enjoys the music, Hayes has half a chance on the edge of the box but fires his shot over the bar. Still 0-0.
29mins: Aberdeen fan has a tuba at the back of the stand would you believe…. Belting out 7 Nation Army which both fans are enjoying.
28mins: Dons on top again at the minute. Bit of pressure on the Steelmen defence.
27mins: Magennis has another effort there but it catches the wind and almost hits the golf course behind the Richard Donald Stand.
26mins: It’s eventually rolled to Magennis but his effort is blocked by the charging ‘Well wall. Good defending there.
26mins: Aberdeen get a free-kick just outside the box. Looked like a coming together of players – not sure who that was again. Chance here.
24mins: Andrew Considine follows that with another long effort that goes five or six yards wide. Hollis able to watch it past.
23mins: Magennis hits a low dig from about thirty yards that doesn’t give Lee Hollis much bother; the keeper clutching it easily.
23mins: Willie Collum a little whistle-happy at the moment. Few calls for both teams look questionable in truth. A little scrappy at times.
20mins: Ojamaa gets in another effort, a header this time, but it bounces harmlessly back to Langfield. Bit better from the visitors.
19mins: Oooohhhhhh, Motherwell go close. Another stinging effort from Humphrey forces Langfield to tip over. Close one there…
18mins: Heavy challenge from Shaughessy on Murphy gives the Steelmen a free-kick. Youngster gets booked for his trouble.
12mins: Dons have started the game the better here. Not really sticking for the Steelmen up top. Giving it away too much.
11mins:Offft, almost an Aberdeen goal. Hayes is allowed to run far too long. His shot is turned around (just) by Hollis. Still 0-0.
8mins: It’s pretty end to end stuff here… Being played like a Cup tie. Dons having marginally more of it at the moment.
7mins: Good football from Motherwell there. Ball eventually breaks to Murphy but Shaughnessy tackles it off the striker for a goal kick.
5mins: Ball finally at the Aberdeen box. Higdon tees up Lasley but his long-range effort hits Ojamaa and spins out for a goal kick.
3mins: Aberdeen fans not happy with the referee after he awards a goal kick when it looked like a corner. Hard to tell from here…
1min: Corner lands at Shaughnessy but it’s somehow cleared. Ball back in – Hollis makes a great save from Magennis. Whirlwind start here.
1min: Aberdeen roar into the attack. A ball across the face is knocked behind for a corner.
1min: Motherwell kick-off.
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“It’s the second time we’ve been up here and lost a goal in the last minute, but if you’d said to me after three or four minutes that we’d get a draw, I’d have taken it right then.
“The first five or 10 minutes were an onslaught, and how we survived it I don’t know. There was a bit of good goalkeeping, some good fortune, and some good defending.
“As much as Aberdeen have injuries, they still put out a very strong and experienced side, and we had two of our own young lads at centre-back – Fraser Kerr and Adam Cummins got stronger as the game went on.
“We grew into the game, and I thought second half we were more prominent. It was a terrific goal from Jamie, and the lads are a bit gutted in the dressing room, but we’re still in the hat and overall I think it was a fair result.”
Aberdeen manager Craig Brown:
“I thought Motherwell should have been relieved not to be 3-0 down in the opening 10 minutes. We should have been ahead, but the usual quality of determination was apparent at the end.
“We’re a very good second half team because the team is very fit and their attitude is superb. With these qualities, I think we can go away from home and do even better.”
“We lost a goal which came out of nothing,” added Brown. “It was a superb goal from Jamie Murphy, and I’m not surprised by it because I know what he can do.
“You’re always concerned when you lose a goal as late as that. I thought it would have been an injustice had we lost the game, and in the early part of the game we had to commend Lee Hollis, the Motherwell goalkeeper.”