Phil McGhee at Fir Park
Motherwell made it back-to-back home wins after battling 2-1 victory over Kilmarnock.
After recovering from a Stephen McManus own goal, strikes from front pair Henri Anier and John Sutton before half-time should have put ‘Well in a commanding postition.
But Kilmarnock were revived in the second half and the dismissal of Simon Ramsden gave them hope of grabbing an equaliser as they applied pressure on the home goal in the closing stages..
Thanks to a couple of great stops from Lee Hollis the Fir Parkers survived but any ‘Well viewers watching this televised tea time kick-off might have been suffering from indigestion in the closing minutes.
‘Well started with one change from the side which edged out Partick last week, with Iain Vigurs starting wide left in place of Zaine Francis-Angol. And the former Ross County man might have scored straight form the kick, when a ball over the top found Henri Anier and Vigurs chasing in on goal only for the latter to steer the ball wide of Craig Samson and his left hand post.
Anier had a chance of his own after 14 minutes but having burst past Darren Barr and ready to blast for goal, the Killie defender recovered to block six yards in front of goal.
Within two minutes ‘Well were behind. Stuart Carswell lost possession wide on the left forcing Shaun Hutchison to concede a free kick. William Gros floated the ball into a packed box where the ball deflected off McManus’ head a fly high past Lee Hollis.
Killie’s lead was short lived, though, as Motherwell produced an equaliser in the 19th minute.
Keith Lasley’s reverse pass slipped the ball in front of Anier and the Estonian kept his cool for the third time this season, driving the ball through the ‘keeper’s legs.
With both sides committed to push forward at every turn chances were created at both ends.
Barry Nicholson might have restored Killie’s lead but his fierce shot was straight at Hollis.
As half time approached though the pressure mounted on the visitor’s goal and Samson was forced into a couple great stops. Firstly he stood up well to beat away a thumping angled drive from Carswell. His next save was even better as Sutton’s low volley acoss goal was destined for inside the post until the ‘keeper dived full length to palm the ball away.
Sutton was not to be denied for long and on the stroke of half time he put ‘Well in front. Ramsden whipped in a low cross which was missed by Jackson Irvine in front of his own goal and with the ‘keeper stranded Sutton slipped in beyond the far post to squeeze the ball home.
The same pair combined within minutes of the restart as ‘Well almost made it three. Ramsden crossed into the six yard box and Sutton’s powerful downward header looked a certain goal until Samson somehow stretched himself to block with his knee.
The home goal had a narrow escape when Kris Boyd cut the ball past Hollis but Hutchison in the centre of an unguarded goal calmly lifted the ball over his own cross bar.
Not for the first time referee Craig Charleston upset the Fir park faithful when he waved aside strong appeals for apenalty after Gros bundled Ramsden to the ground four yards out as ‘Well full back raced to get on the end of a Lasley cross. That led to Ramsden’s first booking.
The action was still end to end and Hollis had to dive smartly to smother ashot from Gros. And as the game moved into the last 15 minutes the Ayrshire side gained control and a belief that they could get a point from the game.
Boyd came within a foot of that with an agled shot which sped past Hollis and just beyond his back post.
Stuart McCall the made a double substitution, Anier coming off allowing Lionel Ainsworth to make his debut and Zaine Francis-Angol replacing McFadden.
‘Well then had to survive the final eight minutes with 10 men after Ramsden collected a second yellow card.
It then took a brilliant injury time save from Hollis to deny Jeroen Tesselaar blocking on his goal line and with help of Sutton gathering the rebound as ‘Well held on for all three points.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Fir Park
FT: Motherwell 2 – 1 Kilmarnock. Big 3 points for 10 men Motherwell. Up to third in the table!
4 minutes added on
89mins: Great save from Hollis to prevent another OG! Done fantastically well to block from Hutchinson’s header.
84mins: Sutton booked for shooting at goal after the whistle had blown.
82mins: Good strike from Vigurs 30 yards out. Ambitious but tested Samson who tipped it over for a corner.
81mins: Kilmarnock sub, Ibrahim on for Gros
80mins: Dangerous position for this Killie Free-kick……. Boyd fires just past!
78mins: Motherwell subs: McFadden and Anier off, Ainsworth and Francis-Angol on.
76mins: Hollis gets off his line quickly and plucks the ball out the air ahead of Boyd.
73mins: Barr booked for dissent after bundling Anier to the ground.
70mins: Ambitious from Carswell as he attempts an outside of the boot shot just outside the bow. Floats wide.
69mins: Easy take for Hollis from Gros’ effort from 20 yards.
66mins: Kilmarnock sub, Gardyne on for McKenzie
64mins: Penalty shout there for ‘Well. Gros eased Ramsden off the ball after he got on the wrong side. Ramsden booked for dissent
60mins: Tesselaar booked for hacking down McFadden
58mins: Hammell booked for shirt pulling.
56mins: Could easily have been another own goal there! Thankfully Hutchinson managed to scoop over his own bar from 5 yards.
49mins: Corner to Motherwell….ref blows for a foul on Samson.
46mins: Great save from Samson to deny Sutton! Header from only yards out and he gets the block on it.
Here we go for the second half! #COYW #SIWY
HT: Motherwell 2 – 1 Kilmarnock
44mins: Ramsden’s ball across goal is missed by Jackson allowing Sutton to slide it home at the back post. 2-1!!
43mins: Great technique from Sutton as he unleashes a volley from a tight angle just inside the box. Samson does well to push it away.
41mins: Vigurs stings Samson’s palms as he bursts past Irvine and Barr and shoots from the angle. Unlucky again!
40mins: McFaddens touch just lets him down as he looked to pounce on Anier’s through ball. Unlucky.
34mins: Decent chance for Nicholson. Fowler finds him 18 yards out and his first-time shot is straight at Hollis.
McManus clears for a corner. Comes to nothing.
33mins: Nicholson stands over another free-kick….from a similar position to what they scored from.
31mins: Gone a bit quiet in terms of chances here….
19mins: Anier levels the game!! Lasley slides him in and the Estonian cooly nutmegs Samson! 1-1
It’s an own goal from what looked like McManus! Ball comes off the back of his head from 8 yards into the net. 0-1
16mins: Killie have a free-kick out wide on the left…..GOAL!
14mins: Anier latches on to Sutton’s flick on. The Estonian had to pull the trigger early but delayed and Barr slid in to clear.
14mins: Fowler give Hollis something to think about with a left footed effort from 25 yards. Comfortable for the ‘keeper.
13mins:Killie win a corner from Gros’ shot which was deflected off Lasley.
10mins: Free-kick to Killie about 35 yards out….Nicholson clips it into Fowler who heads straight at Hollis.
5mins: Motherwell with the bulk of the opening 5 mins. Lots of possession down the right with no killer pass as yet.
10seconds: Almost the perfect start! Vigurs latched onto the long ball over the top but poked his shot just wide!
Pre-match formalities over, we’re underway here at Fir Park #COYW
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“We’ve had times even last week when we had chances to kill people off.
“At 2-1 they are always still in it. There is more to come from us but we’re delighted with three points.
“There is nothing like going into the international break on a win and we needed that.”
Kilmarnock manager Allan Johnston:
“Individual mistakes are costing us dear right now – apart from that with the second-half performance I couldn’t ask for more. We need to defend better than that as a team and individually.
“We passed the ball really well in the second half and were unlucky not to get a goal. I think that performance typifies the way we have started the season.”