Extended highlights from Fir Park as two late goals gave ‘Well the win in a seven-goal thriller against Partick Thistle.
TV: Highlights from Fir ParkSaturday 15 February 2014
Partick Thistle win in picturesSaturday 15 February 2014
Action pictures from the 4-3 win over Partick Thistle at Fir Park in the SPFL Premiership.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
TV: McCall lauds battling SteelmenSaturday 15 February 2014
‘Well boss Stuart McCall praised the spirit of his side after they twice came from behind to beat Partick Thistle.
The Steelmen were losing 1-0 then 3-2 in a topsy-turvy encounter at a soaking Fir Park, but stormed back and late goals from John Sutton and Stephen McManus secured the win.
A shattered McCall, who admitted it was the most drained he had felt after a match since he was a player, was thrilled with the win and commended his players never-say-die attitude.
Speaking to MFC TV after the match, he said: “I knew it was going to be a tough game today
[pullquote]I though the commitment and desire to just keep going and get about the park when it was hard to get through; I’m drained emotionally, but delighted obviously. The players deserve huge credit.[/pullquote]
“With the injury list and the amount of guys were are patching up and putting out, it was always going to be an uphill task.
“I knew we had to rely on 11 or 12 to get us through today, with a lot of young boys on the bench and that was made even more difficult as the park was so, so heavy.
“We said at half time we really need to go out and put all our energies into the first 15, 20 minutes of the half to try to get a goal then kick on. In fairness to Thistle, they came back and Kallum Higginbotham produces a nice piece of skill to put them ahead.
“We look to the bench, but what can really come on in that situation on that park, particularly with Henri (Anier) and Laws (Lawson) struggling?
“I though the commitment and desire to just keep going and get about the park when it was hard to get through; I’m drained emotionally, but delighted obviously. The players deserve huge credit.”
Motherwell 4 – 3 Partick ThistleSaturday 15 February 2014
Phil McGhee at Fir Park
Motherwell showed great determination to stage a dramatic last gasp fight back and take all three points against Partick Thistle today.
But when Stephen McManus powered home his winning header four minutes from time, it not only erased the poor opening 30 minutes but rewarded the ‘Well players who never gave up hope of taking something from a game, despite trailing 3-2 with just six minutes remaining.
It also rewarded the 25 hardy ‘Well fans who battled against the elements on the Fir Park pitch, making it playable for the visit of Thistle. In the light of the injuries, which kept Simon Ramsden, Fraser Kerr and Lee Hollis sidelined, Stuart McCall perhaps secretly hoped for a postponement!
And with six minutes remaining and his side looking to drop three points, the ‘Well boss was most certainly wishing the game had been off.
The finale was in complete contract to most of the first half where both teams struggled to find any pattern to their game, ‘Well looked rusty and short of match practice after a three week lay-off.
After a couple of early chances for the home side, with Iain Vigurs firing over and James McFadden thumping a shot into a packed defence, Thistle sneaked into the lead after 38 minutes.
Former Fir Park loan player Karl Higginbotham, who had a terrific match, fed a pass to Chris Erskine who had time to turn and bury his shot in the corner of the net despite Gunnar Nielsen getting his hand to the ball.
Two minutes Prince Bauben was denied a second when his drive was blocked by Shaun Hutchison on the penalty spot.
Paul Gallagher in the Thistle goal had not been called into action but three minutes from half-time, he was picking the ball out of his net when ‘Well drew level with a bit of luck. Keith Lasley, shaking off a whack to his knee earlier in the match, cut in from the corner of the box and although his shot was on target, a wicked defection from Higginbotham carried the ball high over Gallagher and under his cross bar.
That lifted the home side and within minutes of the restart McFadden found Vigurs at the angle of the box but he curled his shot over the bar.
After 51 minutes McFadden was the provider as ‘Well took the lead. Taking a pass from Lionel Ainsworth the former Scotland star rolled the ball back across the box into the path of Ainsworth, whose controlled shot carried he ball high past Gallagher to make it 2-1.
Thistle had appeals for a penalty dismissed when Aaron Taylor-Sinclair’s shot rebounded from a ‘Well defender’s arm but the ref pointed to the spot after 65 minutes when Ainsworth sliding tackle caught Taylor-Sinclair. Higginbotham rejoiced in front of the East Stand as he confidently sent Nielsen the wrong way to level the scores at 2-2.
Higginbotham then seemed certain to come back to haunt his former employees after 72 minutes when he finished off a great solo run with an angled drive across the ‘keeper and into the far corner of the net to make it 3-2.
That should have been the winner for Thistle but rather than feeling sorry for themselves, the ‘Well players took the challenge to their opponents in the final 15 minutes.
Faddy, who showed some fabulous touches and superb fitness on a heavy pitch, came within inches of the equaliser but his turn and shot from six yards took a deflection on its way into the side netting. Gallagher then produced a great save to palm a thumping header from McManus over the cross bar.
Finally, with six minutes remaining, ‘Well grabbed a deserved equaliser when Ainsworth’s tempting cross found John Sutton rising to nod home his 12th goal of the season and set up a grandstand finish.
And two minutes from time, the comeback was complete. Stevie Hammell whipped a free kick just beyond the 6 yard box where McManus met the ball full on to powerfully head the ball beyond Gallagher to make it 4-3 and grab a hard earned three points.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Fir Park
An incredible game here at Fir Park. A battle, and ‘Well showed great spirit to keep going and come back for the three points #MFCvPTFC
FT: Motherwell 4 – 3 Partick Thistle #MFCvPTFC
Balatoni heads over. 30 seconds left #MFCvPTFC
92mins: Free-kick to Thistle in a dangerous position #MFCvPTFC
3 minutes added on #MFCvPTFC
89mins: Motherwell sub, Ainsworth off for Lawson #MFCvPTFC
88mins: MCMANUS with a looping header over Gallagher. 4-3, unbelievable!! #MFCvPTFC
87mins: Free-kick from out wide……GGGOOOOOAAALLLLL!!!
84mins: It’s that man Sutton again with a monumental leap at the back post to power home Ainsworth’s cross 3-3 #MFCvPTFC
83mins: Partick’s final change, Higginbotham off for Craigen #MFCvPTFC
82mins: Bannigan booked for a shirt pull on Anier #MFCvPTFC
79mins: Partick Thistle sub, Elliot on for Erskine #MFCvPTFC
77mins: Partick Thistle sub, Doolan on for Taylor #MFCvPTFC
76mins: Motherwell sub, Anier on for Vigurs #MFCvPTFC
73mins: Great save from Gallagher to deny McManus’ volley from a corner! #MFCvPTFC
72mins: GOAL! Higginbotham makes it 3-2 with a mazy run and good finish from a tight angle #MFCvPTFC
66mins: Corner to ‘Well……Thistle break and Nielsen has to make the save from Erskine’s shot #MFCvPTFC
65mins: GOAL! Higginbotham makes it 2-2 from the spot #MFCvPTFC
64mins: Penalty! Ainsworth concedes it #MFCvPTFC
61mins: Fine stop from Nielsen at the feet of Bauben! Looked like the equaliser but he did well to make the block 5 yards out #MFCvPTFC
60mins: Thistle claim for handball in the ‘Well box. Was travelling at speed but looked (and sounded) like it hit Hammell’s chest #MFCvPTFC
58mins: Vigurs leaps well at the back post to connect with Ainsworth’s cross. Goes just past #MFCvPTFC
57mins: Carswell also enters the book for for a similar offence #MFCvPTFC
56mins: Balotoni correctly booked for a shirt pull on Ainsworth on the halfway line as ‘Well looked to break #MFCvPTFC
Ainsworth makes it 2-1 with a superb curling finish from just inside the box! McFadden the provider #MFCvPTFC
49mins: Decent build-up play leads to Vigurs getting some space on the left. Shoots, but it’s sliced well wide #MFCvPTFC
Second half is underway #COYW #MFCvPTFC
Teams are back out for the second half. #MFCvPTFC
HT: Motherwell 1 – 1 Partick Thistle #MFCvPTFC
2 minutes added on #MFCvPTFC
42mins: Lasley makes it 1-1. With nothing much on he struck it from 20 yards, Took a deflection over the keeper but they all count! 1-1
36mins: GOAL! Erskine opens the scoring! Had all the time in the world as the defence opened up and slotted home 0-1 #MFCvPTFC
26mins: Taylor gets the break of the ball and with options available, opts to go himself. Lasley does well to cover and tackle #MFCvPTFC
21mins: Ball falls to Lasley 20 yards out. His right footed strike finds the side netting. Close! #MFCvPTFC
13mins: Great battling from Sutton to get away from Balatoni. As he pulls the trigger, Mair gets across to block #MFCvPTFC
10mins: Lasley goes down under a heavy challenge from Higginbotham. He’s up, but limping #MFCvPTFC
6mins: Corner to Partick, won by Erskine. Higginbotham’s low delivery is dealt with by Ainsworth #MFCvPTFC
4mins: Vigurs comes close after getting on the end of Francis-Angol’s low ball in. Curls just over #MFCvPTFC
2mins: Early corner for The Steelmen….McFadden’s goalbound header cleared by Taylor #MFCvPTFC
That’s us underway here at FP!! #MFCvPTFC
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“When we went 2-1 up I thought we were back in it but the penalty gives them a boost before Higginbotham’s terrific third goal. They showed great character and so did we and the action was end to end.
“I stressed to the players that we might make the most of set-pieces and Sutton and McManus were terrific in the air for the last two goals.”
The match had been in doubt beforehand due to adverse weather and McCall admitted that with 10 minutes left he was wondering whether all the effort to get it played had been worth it.
He said: “In the end I was delighted with the victory, and the fact we got the game on, but we had a lot of heavy legs on a heavy pitch.
“We were a bit rusty at times and although it was not our best performance we kept going.”
Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald:
“I thought we were worth at least a point, particularly the way we played in the second half.
“We dealt well all day with the Motherwell threat until the last five minutes but our Achilles heel came back to haunt us again.
“Kallum Higginbotham was outstanding in the second half and for us to score three goals at Fir Park, it should be enough to win the game as not many teams do that.”
TV: McFadden eyes repeat performanceFriday 14 February 2014
James McFadden hopes to recreate the same scintillating form he showed last time ‘Well faced Partick Thistle.
The 48-times capped Scotland talisman had struggled with a troublesome hamstring injury in the early part of the season.
‘Well boss Stuart McCall had asked the former Evertonian to play wide on the left, but it wasn’t until he took a role through the middle against Thistle in Glasgow that he really kicked into top gear.
And the 30-year old hasn’t looked back since, starting three of ‘Well’s four matches, and looking back to his old confident self.
Now the forward to wants to continue that for the rest of the season, as the Steelmen chase their sixth Euro qualification in the last seven seasons.
[pullquote]It was probably a wee bit of a turning point [the Thistle match at Firhill in December] for me this season and performances have been better since.[/pullquote]
Speaking to the gathered press at Motherwell’s pre-match press conference as the Steelmen prepare to meet the Jags again, McFadden said: “It was probably a wee bit of a turning point [the Thistle match at Firhill in December] for me this season and performances have been better since.”
“I think I’m suited better to playing through the middle. I can probably have more of an effect on the game.
“I have enjoyed it and the team has been playing well, and we have been getting some decent results. We face a difficult test against an improving Partick Thistle. People might look at the last match and make assumptions, but no one here is doing that.
“We know how difficult the match will be but it’s up to us to put our own stamp on it and hopefully come away with the three points.”
TV: McCall bemoans injury listFriday 14 February 2014
Stuart McCall has a injury headache to contend with ahead of Saturday’s match with Partick Thistle.
The Fir Park boss had hoped to clear the treatment room, as ‘Well went the first two weekends in February without a match.
However, physiotherapists John Porteous and Adam Stokes have been busier than ever, leaving McCall to turn to his Under 20s side to fill up the squad.
Speaking to the gathered press and ‘Well’s weekly news conference, McCall said: “We had hoped the period without a game would have seen us better off than we were before Aberdeen, and the lads could recharge their batteries; unfortunately we’re probably worse off.
[pullquote]We had hoped the period without a game would have seen us better off than we were before Aberdeen, and the lads could recharge their batteries; unfortunately we’re probably worse off.[/pullquote]
“In that time, which we’ve needed off, Stephen McManus has had a minor operation, two of the lads have had injections and only started training yesterday (Thursday), we’ve had another on complete rest due to shin splints, so that was bad enough.
“Then, on Tuesday at our Under 20s match, Lee Hollis picked up a minor muscle strain – which can happen after a long period out – and to cap it all off, Craig Moore fell over and broke a rib and is out on three weeks.
“So that’s Fraser Kerr, Simon Ramsden, Lee Erwin, Lee Hollis and Craig Moore all out with another two or three doubtful.
“That means we’ll have five, possibly six, lads on the bench who haven’t started a match for the club but we’re looking forward to it getting back into things in what will be a difficult match against Partick Thistle.”
Partick Thistle Magazine PreviewFriday 14 February 2014
The thirteenth domestic Steelmen Matchday Magazine of 2013/14 is on sale when Partick Thistle visit on Saturday.
But what is inside the 68-page issue?
‘Well boss Stuart McCall and Captain Keith Lasley both return with their regular columns.
The Fir Park gaffer is desperate for another game after a three-week break and reviews the changes at Thistle during the January Window, whilst the skipper recalls how difficult it was against the Jags the last time the teams met at Fir Park.
The feature interview is with midfielder Paul Lawson. The former Ross County midfielder talks about how much he is enjoying life at Fir Park, despite facing a battle for a regular spot in the starting eleven.
‘Laws’ also features as the next in the centre-page souvenir poster collection.
There is the usual extensive section dedicated to our visitors, Partick Thistle.
As ever, Ray Morrison introduces the Jags and there’s a player-by-player breakdown of who is likely to line up for the Dons.
We also report from Firhill and the Thistle and Dundee United shared the points in a 1-1 draw two weeks ago.
Graeme McGarry’s ‘Us and Them’ feature also returns, speaking to Dunfermline midfielder Ross Forbes.
Ross talks about how much he enjoyed his time at both Motherwell and Thistle and his tough call to leave both clubs in the search of regular first team football…
‘From the Press Box’ returns with regular host, the Herald’s Scott Mullen and the last of our Eggheads ‘Quarter Final’ clashes pits Stuart Carswell against Zaine Francis-Angol.
We have a tribute to the late, great Andy Paton, who passed away seven days ago as well as a unique story about five ‘Well fans who are living the ultimate dream, signing a contract with the club.
But wait, there’s more!
Our match reports section takes a look back at the 2-2 draw with Aberdeen in January as well as the Under 20s 2-1 win over St Mirren
We have the latest from The Ticket Office, Commercial and Community Departments as well as the latest stats, facts and figures from the 2013/2014 campaign.
We also take a statistical look at the match official and the ‘Junior Steel’ kids page that will test the youngster’s quiz minds with puzzles and ‘Did you know’ facts.
The programme is available for £3 and is will be on sale from the Club Shop as well as the usual sellers located in and around the ground pre-match.
You can also order back editions or take a season-long subscription to the magazine by visiting the website of our publishers – Curtis-Sport – CLICK HERE.
Fans who collect the Steelmen Matchday Magazine should note that the abandoned Inverness magazine has been wrote off as it’s possible the postponed match won’t be for some time. Thanks to the understanding of our partners, Curtis Sport, to keep ‘Well fans as up-to-date as possible, they have kindly offered to underwrite the cost of the print, saving the club a four-figure sum. However, we are also aware that fans, collectors in particular, are always keen to get a hold of these rare issues. To that end, a limited number of 100 will be available in the ‘Well Shop and online at Curtis Sport’s website.
Norris to ref Jags clashThursday 13 February 2014
Referee for Saturday’s SPFL Premiership clash with Partick Thistle at Fir Park is Euan Norris.
The 36-year old will be handling his second Motherwell game of the campaign. Ironically, the other was the last time Thistle were at Fir Park back in August with the Steelmen running out narrow 1-0 winners thanks to a John Sutton goal.
Euan took charge of two matches last season too.
He was the man in the middle for the 1-1 draw with St Mirren at Fir Park in August 2012 and also the memorable 3-1 victory over Celtic last April.
Norris, handling his seventh SPFL Premiership match of the campaign, will be a familiar face to Fir Park fans having officiated four matches during the 2011/12 season too.
He started with the 4-2 away success against Dunfermline at East End Park in late August, the 1-0 win at Easter Road in October, the 3 – 0 defeat at Ibrox in January and the 6-0 demolition of Morton in the Scottish Cup in early February.
The season previous was also two matches. The first, a 0-0 draw with Inverness was instantly forgettable. However, the other was one that will live long in the memory. Celtic were beaten 2-0 at Fir Park; John Sutton netting a brace.
His overall record over the last six seasons in charge of ‘Well reads nine wins, two defeats and two draws from thirteen games. ‘Well have scored 22 goals in those games, conceding ten.
Thankfully, FIFA referee Norris usually likes to keep his cards in his pocket with only 44 cautions handed out in all those games, with an even 22 flashed at a ‘Well players.
He had only produced one red to a player wearing Claret and Amber and that was Shaun Hutchinson for a second bookable offence in that match with St Mirren last season.
Euan will be ably assisted by Derek Rose and Ross Haswell with George Salmond on fourth official duties. Gerry Evans is the referee observer and George Douglas is SPFL delegate.
Possible fan assistance on SaturdayWednesday 12 February 2014
Motherwell FC is looking for volunteers to help assist the groundstaff on Saturday morning, prior to the Partick Thistle game.
Safety & Facilities Manager Alan Marshall explained, “Forecasters are predicting heavy rainfall on Thursday, but dry for most of Friday and Saturday, which is encouraging.
“The pitch is wet after a weeks of almost uninterrupted rain, but is in much better shape than it was prior to the Aberdeen game in late January.
“Looking back, club staff had to work extensively on the morning of that match to ensure the game went ahead.
“It’s very possible we will not require the volunteers, but we are planning and preparing for the worst, and additional bodies to help work on the pitch (and surrounding areas) would be of great help to Mikey Ellis and his team.
“It is very much a precautionary request at this stage, but we don’t want to be caught short if the forecasts are wrong.
“If we do need the help, we’ll make sure people who put themselves forward get a complimentary ticket for the match.”
Fans would be required to be at the ground at approximately 9am. If you feel you can help, then please email your contact details (mobile phone number) to email@example.com.
TV: Highlights from Excelsior StadiumTuesday 11 February 2014
Extended highlights from the Excelsior Stadium as a late Cadden strike earns ‘Well all three points against St Mirren.