Phil McGhee Fir Park
Dundee United came from behind to beat Motherwell and send the Fir Parkers out the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Motherwell produced a battling and spirited Cup performance and, in the first half, showed signs of their real form as they tried to build on Henrik Ojamaa’s early lead.
But in a second half largely dominated by United, Dan Twardzik’s heroics couldn’t prevent goals from John Souttar and Keith Watson, seven minutes from time, taking the Tannadice side into the 5th Round.
It was a cruel end for ‘Well as their horrendous cup form continued and for the second consecutive season the Fir Park side found themselves knocked out of three Cups before Christmas.
Considering their current league form and recent cup record, the Steelmen started this Scottish Cup 4th round tie as underdogs.
But the home side looked to their 1-0 win over the Tannadice team three weeks for a confidence booster, and gave Jackie McNamara’s men no time to settle.
After a quiet opening, ‘Well stormed into the lead. Paul Lawson fed the ball to Ojamma and from 25yards he turned and hit a low skidding shot which sped past the diving Radoslaw Cierzniak and into the corner for the perfect start.
United replied immediately and when Gary Mackay-Steven slipped in behind the home defence, Twardzik raced from his line to make the first of a series of tremendous saves.
Iain Vigurs, along with Keith Lasley and Paul Lawson had an influential first half, and from his corner Mark O’Brien headed the ball straight at the ‘keeper.
Having dominated possession ‘Well should have doubled the lead after 21 minutes when a terrific run and cross from Zaine Francis-Angol picked out the unmarked Josh Law but from 8 yards his header failed to beat the ‘keeper.
The home side almost paid for that when Stuart Armstrong raced beyond the back four only to squeeze his shot beyond the advancing ‘keeper and the post.
Law then finished off a fine mazy run with a powerful drive, which was held by Cierzniak. Within a minute Twardzik came to ‘Well’s rescue again advancing from his line to block Ryan Dow’s shot with his foot.
The home side was on top though, and looked the more likely to score again but two inviting crosses from Vigurs and Francis-Angol found no takers in front of goal.
Within two minutes of the restart Kenny Black had to make achange when the luckless Lawson limped off, with a calf injury, with Craig Reid coming on to play in front of the back four.
Last year’s beaten finalists, aiming to embark on another impressive cup run, pressed for an equaliser in front of their 2,000 travelling fans, and only a fine diving save from Twardzik denied Chris Erskine.
United’s pace was causing problems for the home defence and when Mackay-Steven raced through on goal after 57 minutes he should have equalised but once again Twardzik came out to make a brilliant block.
The ‘Well keeper was helpless, though, in the 65th minute when Armstrong’s corner found Souttar unmarked in the 6 yard box and he headed home to the delight of the travelling Arabs.
Inside two minutes the visitors should have been ahead when Calum Butcher raced through but once again Twardzik stood firm to deny United.
With ‘Well hemmed in their own half a United winner looked on the cards.
And it seemed a certainty in the 79th minute as Armstong raced through unchallenged but as he rounded Twardzik the ‘keeper produced a fabulous save.
That should have been enough to earn ‘Well a replay but seven minutes from time Keith Watson outjumped Francis-Angol to power a header down and beyond Twardzik.
The home side had one final chance to force a replay their first half play merited but after getting above Souttar, John Sutton could only guide his header over the crossbar.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
FT: Motherwell 1 – 2 Dundee Utd #MFCvDUFC
92mins: Great chance for Sutton but he can’t keep his header down from 10 yards. #MFCvDUFC
3 minutes left to find an equaliser…#MFCvDUFC
84mins: Dundee Utd sub, Erskine off for Adeyemo #MFCvDUFC
83mins: Motherwell sub, Kerr on for Francis-Angol #MFCvDUFC
82mins: GOAL! Watson heads the ball into the net from 12 yards. 2-1 to Utd #MFCvDUFC
…Twardzik launches himself at his feet and gathers it to safety. #MFCvDUFC
79mins: Dan Twardzik…INCREDIBLE! Armstrong springs the offside trap and with all the time in the world surely has to score but..
76mins: Motherwell sub, Erwin on for Law
74mins: Twardzik yet again to the rescue. This time has to palm away Dow’s powerful effort from just inside the box 69mins: #MFCvDUFC
69mins: Connolly cuts in from the right wing on his left foot and fires a shot inches over the bar #MFCvDUFC
68mins: Another good block by Twardzik! This time Butcher went through 1 on 1 but he stands strong and beats the ball away #MFCvDUFC
66mins: GOAL! Utd back level, Souttar heading home a corner. 1-1 #MFCvDUFC
61mins: Huge let-off there as Twardzik slices a clearance to Armstrong. Thankfully the defence flood back and eventually clear #MFCvDUFC
61mins: Dundee utd sub, Mackaty-Steven off for Connolly #MFCvDUFC
57mins: Great chance for Utd but again Twardzik is on hand to block from Mackay-Steven who was through 1v1 #MFCvDUFC
55mins: Pretty even first 10 minutes of the second half. Still a very high tempo game #MFCvDUFC
52mins: ‘Well counter but from Ojamaa’s low ball into the box, the ball just doesn’t sit right for Sutton and Utd clear #MFCvDUFC
51mins: Good chance for Utd, Erksine firing it goalwards and only denied by the diving Dan Twardzik. Great save. Still 1-0. #MFCvDUFC
48mins: Corner for Utd…….ball flashes all the way across goal with no takers #MFCvDUFC
46mins: Gutted for Paul Lawson. Limping off after 46 mins, replaced by Craig Reid #MFCvDUFC
Dundee Utd sub, Telfer off for Butcher. Both teams are back out and the second half is underway. #MFCvDUFC
HT: Motherwell 1 – 0 Dundee Utd #MFCvDUFC
42mins: Good take from Cierzniak as he races from his line and plucks a Francis-Angol out the air before Law got to it #MFCvDUFC
40mins: Telfer spins and comes in off the right wing but he is off balance as he shoots and it flys well over #MFCvDUFC
39mins: Watson is booked for a last-ditch tackle on Sutton. Would have been a red but a Utd defender and got back far enough to cover
37mins: Great patient build up play there. Lawson finally floated a ball into the box but Sutton can’t get any power in his header #MFCvDUFC
32mins: Lasley booked for a hard tackle in the Utd half. Looked a fair challenge on first look. Very harsh #MFCvDUFC
30mins: It’s end-to-end and very open. Really enjoyable cup tie so far #MFCvDUFC
29mins: Utd win a corner, then ‘Well counter through Ojamaa who jinks up the field and wins ‘Well a corner. #MFCvDUFC
United are looking very dangerous now. Thats two great chances in as many minutes. #MFCvDUFC
27mins: Great chance for Dow as he is put through on goal but Twardzik gets a foot to it. Good save! #MFCvDUFC
26mins: What a break from Utd. Great bit of passing put Armstrong in 1v1 but he drags his shot inches past the post #MFCvDUFC
24mins: Motherwell on top here! Another corner…..headed over by Sutton #MFCvDUFC
21mins: Unbelievable diagonal ball by Lawson to pick out Francis-Angol who picks out Law in the box but hIs header is straight at Cierzniak
20mins: Bookings for Paton and Vigurs. Looked pretty harsh on first inspection. Petty handbags, nothing in it #MFCvDUFC
18mins: Some really good stuff from The Steelmen so far. ZFA gets some space on the left but his cross is easily dealt with by Cierzniak
15mins: Good interplay from Ojamaa and Francis-Angol but his high through ball to Ojamaa his overhit and it trickles back to Cierzniak.
10mins:Vigurs wins the first corner of the game. From delivery, O’Brien gets a looping header on it but it’s not enough to trouble Cierzniak
8mins: Great chance for Utd but McManus gets across wonderfully to slide clear from Armstrong as he pulled the trigger #MFCvDUFC
7mins: Lawson slides a ball into Ojamaa and from 25 yards he unleashes one into the bottom left corner. 1-0 to ‘Well! #MFCvDUFC
5mins: Great feet from Mackay-Steven on the right wing to get past Francis-Angol but Twardzik is on hand to mop up his cross #MFCvDUFC
4mins: High-tempo start to the game, ‘Well with a couple of balls into the box that haven’t really caused Utd any problems #MFCvDUFC
Law and Lasley kick off the action #COYW #MFCvDUFC
And the teams are out the tunnel. Utd in their change kit, black shirt with white shorts and socks,’Well in their Claret and Amber #MFCvDUFC
The atmosphere is building up here at Fir Park, just moments away from kick-off #MFCvDUFC
Motherwell caretaker manager Kenny Black:
Dundee Utd manager Jackie McNamara: