Phil McGhee at Rugby Park
Kilmarnock scored a goal in either half to beat nine-man Motherwell at Fir Park this afternoon.
The score line does not even begin to tell the story of this game!
Ultimately an own goal from Stevie Hammell and headed goal from William Gros gave Kilmarnock three points.
In truth, though, in thirty minutes of first half domination after going behind, ‘Well produced some great flowing football and created enough chances not only equalise but probably bury the home side.
And although a mixture of goal line clearances and poor finishing cost Motherwell at least a share of the points, frustration and lack of discipline cost them two sending offs.
Two straight red cards for Fraser Kerr and Keith Lasley in a crazy closing six minutes left the side with nine men and Stuart McCall with selection problems for next week’s crucial game with ICT.
After a pretty tame start Killie took a lucky lead after twelve minutes. Ross Barbour out wide on the right aimlessly drilled a low ball into the box only for Stevie Hammell’s outstreched leg to deflect the ball past the helpless Darren Randolph from ten yards.
Amazingly, that set back gave the Fir park side a jolt and from then until half time they attacked Kilmarnock down both flanks producing a wealth of great chances.
A series of crosses and Tom Hateley corners from wings had the Killie defence stretched for the remainder of the half with at least three goal line clearances from the diminutive Gros needed to keep them in front.
A poor clearance from Kyle Lethernan after 21 minutes gave the ball to Nicky Law but after racing to the goal line his cutback set up Keith Lasley who shot over the bar, much to the ‘keepers relief.
Three minutes later the keeper had to thank Gros, who popped up on the goal line to clear Shaun Hutchison’s powerful header from a Hateley corner.
Remarkably it took another clearance from Gros on the half hour to deny Hutchison with a thumping volley eight yards in front of a packed goal.
Then from yet another Hateley corner Simon Ramsden’s header was palmed onto the face of the bar by Letheren, leaving Gros to once again clear the ball out of the six yard box.
Four minutes from the end of half dominated by the visitors, Motherwell passed up another opportunity to grab a deserved equaliser. This time Henrik Ojamaa was the provider but after working his way to the goal line he could only watch as Lasley once again scooped his shot over the cross bar.
Stevie Hammell had a long range strike that Letheren had to block and Michael Higdon sent a close-range header wide that normally he would have nestled.
Although not as dominant in the second half, ‘Well still looked the more likely to score – until Kilmarnock hit with a sucker punch.
After 69 minutes ‘Well brought on Kallum Higgginbotham for his first appearance in Motherwell jersey but it was the home side that doubled their lead just two minutes later.
James Dayton on the left touchline swung over an inviting cross and Gros from 6 yards powered a great header down and into the net past Randolph.
Motherwell were then reduced to ten-men six minutes from time. Fraser Kerr, having replaced Hatelely only four minutes previously, was first to go for a wild swing at Dayton.
And three minutes later Keith Lasley capped a miserable afternoon when a frustrated lunge at Dayton led to another red and a sad ending to a match where Motherwell earned a lot of positives for their attacking play but pointless and with two players facing a two-match ban.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Rugby Park
FT – Kilmarnock 2 – 0 Motherwell. 9 men Motherwell put to the sword by a Killie side who simply took their chances
90mins: 687 ‘Well fans here today,
88mins: Tempers lost as ‘Well go down to 9 men. Both late lunges and both dangerous.
88mins: RED CARD, Lasley sees red.
84mins: RED CARD: Kerr sent off.
80mins: Motherwel sub: Kerr on for Hateley.
79mins: And now Hateley finds himself in the book for a similar incident
76mins: Humphrey booked for stopping a Killie break just inside the Motherwell half.
72mins: Lasley slides the ball past Letheren but is ruled to be in an offside position.
71mins: Motherwell sub: McHugh on for Ramsden.
70mins: GOAL: Gros heads home to make it 2-0 to Killie.
68mins: Motherwell sub, Higginbotham on for Carswell. And a Killie sub, Tesselaar off for Racchi
66mins: Hay spins a tries his luck from 30 yards. Curls the ball well over the bar.
62mins: Corner to Motherwell after Pascali hooks Ojamaa’s cut back away from Higdon who was lingering with intent.
62mins: Killie sub, Perez off for Hay,
57mins: great position for a shot here. Free-kick 25 yards out for ‘Well. Hateley shoots straight at Letheren.
50mins: Corner to Killie……eventually swept clear by Humphrey.
46mins: Second half underway – There was a Killie sub at the interval. Barbour making way for Clingan
HT: Kilmarnock 1 – 0 Motherwell
40mins: Another chance! This time it’s Lasley heading a fraction over!
39mins: Hammell zings and effort goalward not unlike Barbour’s goal. Just needed a touch but Letheren gathers at second attempt
36mins: It’s been a good spell of pressure from Motherwell, only denied by solid and admirable Killie defending at the last minute.
35mins: Woah, and again! This time it’s a tremendous reaction save from Letheren to deny Hutch.
33mins: UNBELIEVABLE! How the ball wasn’t in the net there I’ll never know. Twice Killie bodies were flung in front of ‘Well efforts to deny on line.
28mins: Barbour scuffs his shot just past then ‘Well rush forward and win a corner.
24mins: Sissoko clumsy in his attempt to win the ball from Law. Free-kick from wide……falls to Law but his volley is awkward and is saved
23mins: Hutchinson meets it with his head. Gros clears and danger with his thigh.
22mins: Make that 3 in a row…..
22mins: Good spell of pressure now from ‘Well. Second corner in a row coming up….
20mins: Lasley slides in at the front post to get in the end of law’s pull back. Somehow blazes over from 8 yards!
19mins: Hateley curls in a free-kick which Ramsden is only inches away from connecting with!
19mins: Ojamaa being boo’d after he raced though on goal and looked to be impeded by Pascali. Ref disagreed.
14mins: Humphrey eases past Tesselaar and gets a good ball in across goal. Letheren gathers comfortably though.
12mins: GOAL: Barbour opens the scoring for Killie. His shot from 25 yards got a wicked deflection which took it past the helpless Randolph
11mins: Ramsden given a talking to after a firm challenge on Gros.
8mins: Fowler swings in a great ball which Tesselaar is only inches away from connecting with with his head.
5mins: Ojamaa wins Motherwell’s first corner. Short corner is eventually squared to Law who tries his luck from 20 yards. Blocked by Pascali.
1mins: Bit of an early scare. Barbour drills in a low angled cross which narrowly misses Heffernan.
Formalities complete, it’s time for kick-off. Law and Lasley get us underway #COYW
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“You can’t be too hard on the players today because I thought they were excellent. Our inability to take our chances has cost us, but the way we played I am more than happy.”
“It’s the old cliché – if it had been a boxing match it would have been stopped at half-time. They got a fortuitous goal, a deflection, which can happen, and I just think our luck was out today.
“They had valiant last-gasp clearances and you’ve got to give them credit for getting blocks on the line. After half-time I don’t think we played as well as we did in the first half but I still think we were in control of the game.
“They weren’t causing us any problems whatsoever. And then from a rare breakaway up the park, a good cross, a good header and we were 2-0 down.”
Kilmarnock assistant Jimmy Nicholl:
“We had a great start, going at them, stopping them from playing and then we scored a goal and then we stopped playing.
“We couldn’t get a grip of the game. Fair play to Motherwell, they were passing the ball about and moving and posing us lots of problems.
“It was swathes of attack and we couldn’t get a grip or hold the ball – and we were playing far too deep.
“We told the players at half time they couldn’t keep it up for another 45 minutes, so they were a lot better in the second half – and we got a great second goal.
“Motherwell just lot a wee bit of discipline, so it made it comfortable for us when they went down to nine men.”