Pictures from the 2-2 draw with Kilmarnock in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.
Pictures from the 2-2 draw with Kilmarnock in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.
Phil McGhee at Fir Park
Motherwell had to settle for a point after a dramatic late fightback failed to give them all three points against Kilmarnock.
For the third time in their last four games ‘Well trailed by 0-2, as goals from Borja Perez and Paul Heffernan put Kimarnock on the road to victory.
But the introduction of Bob McHugh for the last 25 minutes had Motherwell laying siege to the visitor’s goal and after Jamie Murphy and Henrik Ojamaa brought them level, a grandstand finish found them just unable to convert one of a number of great chances.
It almost seemed like a win though and the Fir Park faithful appreciated their efforts applauding the team at the final whistle for the final home game of the year.
Stuart McCall made two changes to the side which had such a stunning win over Aberdeen, bringing back Stevie Hammell and Chris Humphrey.
Despite both teams coming into the game on the back of good victories, it was a cautious start and the first thing of note was in honour of Phil O’Donnell after 10 minutes. The poignant minute’s applause, commendably honoured by all 700 Kilmarnock fans, almost had a rousing finale as Humphrey worked his way to the goal line. His cut back was met by Michael Higdon he thumped his drive straight into Cammy Bell’s chest.
A minute later though the Killie fans were back on their feet celebrating the opening goal. James Dayton tentatively played the ball in from the left but as the ball rolled across the penalty area Borja Perez swiveled before sweeping a terrific drive high past Darren Randolph.
Higdon and Jamie Murphy had shots blocked but it was Kilmarnock who came closest to another goal in 23rd minute. ‘Well failed to clear their lines at the edge of the box and when Cillian Sheridan nodded the ball back towards the penalty spot it found the unmarked Paul Heffernan. While Randolph did well to block his volley it was left to Shaun Hutchison to complete the clearance heading the dropping ball over his own cross bar.
That was the last piece of action for the defender as he was replaced by Adam Cummings just before the half hour mark.
From then until the interval all of the play was towards the Kilmarnock goal.
Tom Hateley had two free kicks from identical spots well saved by Bell before Henrik Ojamaa dragged his low shot wide of the keeper’s right hand post.
On the stroke of half time ‘Well were denied a deserved equaliser. Hateley’s corner was superbly met on the volley by Murphy but as his shot was sneaking inside the post Jamie Fowler booted the ball off the line.
McCall’s men started the second half pressing for the equaliser and Keith Lasley came close after 52 minutes but his strike from 15 yards swerved off target.
Kilmarnock continued to look threatening on the break and it took a double save from Randolph in the 54th minute to keep the home side’s hopes alive.
Sheridan outpaced Hammell as he headed towards goal but his side foot finish allowed Randolph to block with his knee. But before the ball could be fully cleared Liam Kelly’s low drive was destined for the bottom corner before the ‘Well keeper at full stretch pushed it round the post.
The Ayrshire side’s second, though, was only delayed until the 61st minute. Perez’s in-swinging corner took a touch towards goal forcing Randolph to claw the ball out low to his left but Heffernan was first to react nudging the ball over the line to make it 2-0.
‘Well’s response was to send on Bob McHugh after 66 minutes for the unlucky Cummings.
The substitution paid dividends within five minutes when Humphrey’s cut back found McHugh and although his drive seemed net bound Murphy got the final touch to reduce the leeway – the forwards 50th goal in Claret and Amber.
That lifted the team and the crowd and just four minutes later the sides were level. Ojamaa cut in from the left side of the box and had only one thing on his mind as he curled an unstoppable shot beyond Bell and in off the keeper’s left hand post.
The final 15 minutes was enthralling as wave after wave of attack flowed towards the visitor‘s goal.
And with Humphrey having the measure of young Rory McKeown the ‘Well winger teed up a succession of chances with McHugh’s net bound effort from four yards blocked by Ryan O’Leary.
Lasley shot over and then watched another drive blocked by Michael Neslon’s arm as the Killie defence wilted but held on for a point, which their contribution to a thoroughly entertaining game possibly just deserved.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Fir Park
FULL TIME: Motherwell 2 – 2 Kilmarnock
90mins: Yet again Humphrey does well to cut the ball across the face of goal. McHugh is just inches away from turning it home!
90mins: Three minutes added on
86mins: Lasley latches on to the end of a Humphrey pull back. Seemed to take an eternity to reach him and when it did, he scooped it over.
82mins: Killie sub, Johnson off for Slater
80mins: Murphy blazes Humphrey’s cutback well over. Was an awkward one to take to be fair.
79mins: Killie sub, O’Hara on for Perez
78mins: McHugh heads just past with the help of a deflection! All Motherwell!
76mins: Murphy has the crowd on their feet in celebration but his was just wide of the post and into the side netting
74mins: The pistols are back as Ojamaa curls in a wonder goal to pull it back to 2-2!!!!!!
GOOOOAAALLLLL! WHAT A GOAL!! OJAMAA!
72mins: Good chance here. Hateley delivers from a wide free-kick but Murphy’s header is too weak to trouble Bell.
70mins: Fantastic play from Humphrey to cut back for Murphy who bundles it home! 1 – 2
69mins: Hateley booked! Looked like he definitely made contact with the ball and was a great challenge.
66mins: Hammell has to be alert and opts to nod Dayton’s dangerous cross out for a corner.
65mins: Motherwell sub: Cummins off for McHugh
63mins: Tame effort from Law from 20 yards is easy for Bell of clutch onto.
62mins: GOAL: Heffernan doubles Killie’s advantage from close range after a fine save by Randolph
56mins: Randolph keeps us in the game with two fantastic saves. First at the feet of Sheridan, second from Kelly’s long range effort.
52mins: Just past the post from Lasley! What a strike that would have been from 25 yards out!
46mins: Second half is now underway. #COYW
HT: Motherwell 0 – 1 Kilmarnock
45mins: Murphy volley’s Hateley’s corner towards the bottom corner. Cleared off the line by Perez!
39mins: Ojamaa drags a shot just past Bell’s post. We’re still creating, which is positive.
39mins: Motherwell free-kick 20 yards out……Hateley’s shot is saved by Bell low to his left.
37mins:’Well still searching for the equaliser….Ojamaa cuts in and beats two men but sees his shot cannon off a Killie defender
33mins: Free-kick right on the edge of the box for ‘Well…. Hateley fires straight at Bell
29mins: Motherwell sub: Hutchinson off for Cummins.
23mins: Too close for comfort! Hutchinson has to head onto his own bar to divert Heffernan’s shot clear!
21mins: Law drives forward but with no options ahead, has to shoot from 25 yards. Bell makes a comfortable diving save to his right.
18mins: Half chance for Hutchinson there. Found himself unmarked from a corner but just can’t generate enough power in his header.
14mins: ‘Well peppering shots at the Killie goal in a bid to get back on level terms. Killie bodies in the way every time though.
11mins: GOAL: Perez opens the scoring with a spectacular curled strike. 0-1
11mins: Humphrey gets to the by and pulls it back to Higdon. The big scouser can only shoot straight at Bell.
10mins: One Phil O’Donnell
9mins: Slack back pass to Bell almost allows in Ojamaa! Bell recovers though and gathers the ball to safety.
6mins: Free-kick to Motherwell some 40 yards out. Hateley delivers but it is over hit.
1mins: Lasley and Law kick us off! #SIWY
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“I’ve been really proud of the lads in the past six weeks, probably longer, when you look at some of the matches we have been involved in. They have been fantastic.
“There’s a hint of disappointment in the dressing room at not winning.”
Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels:
“I’m sure it was an entertaining game for the neutrals and we made a contribution, which was good,” said Shiels, whose side remain in sixth place in the SPL table.
“I felt in the first 20 minutes of the second-half we had control but you know what a goal can do – it gave them a great momentum shift and they were really hard to play against at the stage.
“There were purple patches for both teams and that’s how football should be.
“The boys showed great spirit after conceding the second goal, we came here under-strength and to get a point is pleasing.
“You are always down a bit when you concede a late goal but you have to reflect on the whole game and it was a very good advert for the Scottish game.”
Motherwell Football Club remembers our captain, Phil O’Donnell, who sadly and so tragically passed away five years ago today.
A Motherwell legend, Phil died on the 29th December 2007 during a match with Dundee United at Fir Park.
His untimely death had a massive impact on the club and he is still fondly remembered and much missed by everyone including our supporters who are planning a tribute by applauding during the tenth minute of today’s match with Kilmarnock to celebrate his life.
Today, the thoughts and prayers of everyone at Motherwell Football Club are with Eileen, Megan, Christopher, Olivia and Luc and the rest of the O’Donnell family as we cherish a true gentleman and family man taken way before his time.
Phil O’Donnell, brave as a lion, may you forever rest in peace.
Estonian International Henrik Ojamaa hopes the Steelmen can maintain some of the sensational form they showed against Aberdeen on Wednesday.
The Fir Parkers face Kilmarnock at home tomorrow just days after beating Craig Brown’s men 4-1 in arguably 2012’s best performance.
The 21-year old Ojamaa was at the heart of just about everything positive for the hosts and hopes that continues tomorrow as the battle for the top-six heats up.
[pullquote]Kilmarnock are a good side and we know their strengths so we have to look out for them but they’ll also be looking out for us because of the performance against Aberdeen.[/pullquote]
Speaking to MFC TV, he said: “The Aberdeen game midweek was one of the most enjoyable ones this season.
“There was a lot of great attacking play which must have been a pleasure to watch and also to play in and it’s now very important that we back that up with another good performance and result against Kilmarnock.
“Playing at Fir Park teams come here and give us a lot of respect. It’s a stadium where it is quite easy to defend deep as it is quite narrow, so getting the first goal, as we did against Aberdeen, is crucial as it means it gives our attacking players more space to make the most of.
“Kilmarnock are a good side and we know their strengths so we have to look out for them but they’ll also be looking out for us because of the performance against Aberdeen.
“It’s going to be tough and we’ll need to do the ugly part. We’ve got to compete, get the tackles in and that will allow us to attack the way we can and hopefully get a result.”
‘Well boss Stuart McCall is desperate to build on midweek success against Aberdeen but expects a tough encounter against Kilmarnock at Fir Park.
The Steelmen haven’t recorded a victory against the Ayrshire side in North Lanarkshire for almost three years; a 1-0 win back in February 2010.
There have been several draws in that time and fortunes have been somewhat different at Rugby Park but all the ingredients are there for another excellent match.
Kenny Shiels’ squad come into the match off the back of a couple of excellent victories over Aberdeen and Hearts.
The Steelmen will be looking for more of the same from midweek when they were in top form to blow Craig Brown’s side out the water.
[pullquote]We’ve had tight games against them and not a lot of goals. We were pleased with our performance at Rugby Park earlier in the season but Killie are a very talented side.[/pullquote]
“Since I’ve been in charge, we’ve not beaten Kilmarnock here at Fir Park,” McCall told MFC TV.
“We’ve had tight games against them and not a lot of goals. We were pleased with our performance at Rugby Park earlier in the season with Jamie getting two goals but Killie are a very talented side.
“They have got some really good individual players; Dayton is on top form at the moment and I like Harkins. They’ve managed to strengthen since we played them last, bringing in Sheridan, Sissoko and Heffernan is now back fit so they will cause us problems.
“It’s such a fine line between success and failure. I said after three minutes against Aberdeen that they could have been two up.
“We managed to get the opening goal and went on to flourish. Our home results have been very similar to last season when we finished third. By Christmas we had won three games last season and that is the same again.
“Hopefully we can build on the Aberdeen result against Kilmarnock and we can go into the New Year not only putting good performances in but getting three points on the board too.”
Referee for Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Kilmarnock will be the experienced Crawford Allan.
It will be Crawford’s second Motherwell match of the current 2012/13 season, having already handled the goalless draw with Hearts in November, which will be remembered for the collision between Darren Randolph and Callum Paterson.
Randolph was later handed a two match suspension following an enquiry by SFA Compliance Officer Vincent Lunny, Motherwell did appeal the decision, however were unsuccessful in their attempts to have the ban overturned.
Tragically, Allan took charge of the ‘Well game on the 29th December 2007, forever etched in history as the date when Phil O’Donnell tragically passed away in the 5-3 victory over Dundee United.
Phil’s death had a profound effect on the whistler, a Grade 1 official for over a decade, but he won heartfelt praise for the way he handled what was an extremely difficult situation and his sensitive approach will be forever appreciated by everyone at Motherwell Football Club.
In another twist of fate, Allan is only one of two referees to have ever taken charge of a Motherwell away game at Fir Park as the Steelmen faced hosts Gretna during the 2007/2008 campaign.
His record in charge of the ‘Well is a fairly decent one, with the Fir Parkers winning six, drawing five and losing four (which all came last season) of the thirteen games in total. In those games, 43 players have seen yellow, 24 in Claret and Amber, whilst three have been sent for an early bath.
Allan will be ably assisted by Stuart Stevenson and David McGeachie with Craig Charleston on fourth official duties. Referee Observer is George Clyde and SPL Delegate is Gerry Collins.
Motherwell are offering families the best possible present this Christmas with a £25 ticket for matches against Kilmarnock.
Any adult or senior citizen can bring up to two Under 12s for the cut-price deal (£25). But that’s not where the value ends.
We will get into the Christmas spirit and the main man, Santa Claus, will be in and around the ground with goodies for those that find him. We will have giveaways; face painting, photo opportunities with a selection of first-team players and a DJ will keep the Christmas spirit going with a special karaoke.
There will also be a chance for you to represent Motherwell FC in the half-time penalty kick competition – further details will appear on our Facebook page.
It’s one not to miss. You can guarantee your spot or perhaps give it away as a present by buying online now. Please click here to pre-purchase tickets.
Extended Highlights from Fir Park as a rampant Motherwell put four past Aberdeen to win the match 4-1.
Goal-hero Jamie Murphy was thrilled with his brace which helped Motherwell beat Aberdeen 4-1 at Fir Park this afternoon.
Murphy netted his ninth and tenth of the campaign, hitting double figures for the fourth consecutive season.
The former Scotland U21 hitman was denied his hat-trick as Jamie Langfield dived low to his right to save a second half penalty but even that could not wipe the smile off Murphy’s face who reckons the performance was one of the best seen at Fir Park in some time.
[pullquote]It’s up there with the best performance of the year and if we can keep playing like that we will be right up there at the end of the season that is for sure.[/pullquote]
“It’s fantastic to get a good win at home,” he told MFC TV after the match.
“It’s been due so to come away with the three points was great.
“It’s up there with the best performance of the year and if we can keep playing like that we will be right up there at the end of the season that is for sure.
“Personally it is great to score. The last four seasons I’ve made it to double figures and I’ve scored more league goals this season so far than I did last season in total so the aim now is to score as many as possible.”
Stuart McCall lavished praise on his players after they destroyed Aberdeen at Fir Park this afternoon.
The Steelmen were rampant for most of the ninety minutes and the scoreline could and perhaps should have been more convincing but for Jamie Langfield pulling off a number of excellent blocks, including a penalty save to deny Jamie Murphy a hat-trick.
McCall shaped the team up in an unfamiliar 3-4-3 formation and it appeared to outfox Craig Brown and the Dons, who struggled to cope with Motherwell’s attacking threat and width.
Typically magnanimous, the Fir Park boss heaped the adulation on to his side and paid tribute to what was arguably the best home performance in the whole of 2012.
[pullquote]We haven’t had the best of results at Fir Park but in the main we’ve had good performances and today was the icing on the cake with the goals and the performance.[/pullquote]
He told MFC TV after the match: “For the calibre of opposition we were up against it was a great result and could have been more if we were being greedy.
“They started better than us but I’m really pleased. It was a great footballing performance which has taken its time coming.
“I expected them to come and play the system they used in the Scottish Cup and for all the play we had we didn’t cause enough problems but we can talk about tactics and formations all day.
“It’s about players and if they go out and play as they can, they can trust us to make the changes. A few of the performances were outstanding.
“We haven’t had the best of results at Fir Park but in the main we’ve had good performances and today was the icing on the cake with the goals and the performance.”