Graeme McGarry Fir Park
Motherwell moved off the foot of the Scottish Premiership with a 1-1 home draw against Kilmarnock today.
However, Ian Baraclough will be disappointed not to have claimed all three points after playing the entire second half against 10 men.
A fine strike by Tope Obadeyi gave Kilmarnock an early lead before his team-mate Daryl Westlake saw red after picking up two bookings in quick succession just before half-time.
Scott McDonald levelled for Motherwell directly from the second of those free-kicks awards, his first goal since returning to Fir Park.
The home side had plenty of possession after the break but could not create the opportunity that would have given them a crucial and perhaps deserved win.
After an overnight downpour in Lanarkshire, the match went ahead after the pitch passed a morning inspection but, with the surface cutting up badly in areas, both sides deserve credit for trying to play football.
The Motherwell fans were screaming for a penalty after just five minutes when Marvin Johnson got his toe to the ball ahead of the onrushing Kilmarnock goalkeeper Craig Samson, the winger tumbling to the ground only for referee John Beaton to show him a yellow card for simulation. Television pictures clearly show the official was incorrect.
Josh Magennis then shot wide as Killie threatened for the first time and at the opposite end a snap-shot by McDonald from the edge of the area drew the first save of the match, Samson saving well low to his right.
The visitors moved ahead after 19 minutes, Nathan Eccleston breaking down the left before feeding the ball across the 18-yard line where it eventually found its way to Obadeyi arriving from the opposite flank. Josh Law looked to have forced the winger wide but he produced a thunderous finish high past George Long into the roof of the net from an acute angle.
Motherwell tried to respond quickly and a Johnson cross from the left presented a good opportunity to Conor Grant but Samson managed to tip his goal-bound header over the bar.
Grant then swung in a corner that Stephen McManus met with a crashing volley but Kilmarnock captain Manual Pascali bravely threw himself in the way of the strike to block.
Kilmarnock were looking dangerous on the break and Craig Slater came close to doubling their lead as he cut inside from the left flank past a couple of challenges and sent a right-foot effort inches past Long’s right-hand post.
Johnson was providing a threat for the home side and again he got a cross into the area, this time for McDonald, whose header was smothered on the line by Samson.
McDonald then had a half-volley blocked behind by Lee Ashcroft, and from the resulting corner Grant’s low delivery was blazed over by Louis Laing from a good position as the home side tried to level before the break.
They were given a boost on 44 minutes as Kilmarnock were reduced to 10 men, Westlake receiving his second yellow card for a foul on Johnson on the edge of the area having been booked for a poor tackle on the same player just minutes before.
The free-kick was to prove doubly costly as McDonald curled a lovely right-foot effort up and over the wall to nestle in Samson’s bottom right-hand corner and haul Motherwell level on the stroke of half-time.
Kilmarnock manager Gary Locke sacrificed the attacking threat of Chris Johnston at half-time, sending on defender Ross Barbour to shore things up at the back with his side a man light.
The visitors were succeeding in limiting Motherwell to half-chances and shots from distance and they were willing to put their bodies on the line to block any efforts that the Steelmen did get away.
Indeed, they almost regained the lead on a foray forward when Eccleston received the ball from a throw-in with his back to goal before rolling Laing and flashing a high effort just past the upright.
Lionel Ainsworth was sent on as Motherwell tried to break the stubborn Killie rear-guard down and he almost put the ball on a plate for McDonald after being played in on the right channel by Law, Ashcroft doing well to stretch and cut the ball out just in the nick of time.
Motherwell found it difficult to create any clear-cut openings as frustration set in amongst the home support and, despite some late pressure, the visitors held on for a point.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
FULL TIME’ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
It ends 1-1 here at Fir Park.
90 3 minutes added on
85′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Killie sub, Eccleston off for Miller.
83′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Motherwell sub, Johnson off for Dom Thomas.
82′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Ainsworth’s shot is sent looping into the air to Sutton who from an awkward position, fires straight at Samson.
80′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Killie sub, Obadeyi off for Cairney
76′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Cross field ball comes to Johnson who, on his weaker foot, scuffs it well wide.
70′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Motherwell sub, Erwin off for Sutton.
68′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Almost a rare one as the ball falls to Lasley 25 yards out. He hits it first time but it floats over the bar.
68′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Pascali has to be at full stretch to knock Ainsworth’s cross wide of the post for a corner.
62′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Eccleston does well to turn Law on the wing and fizzes a shot just wide of the post.
57′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
After a bit of pingball the ball comes to Erwin 10 yards out who tries the spectacular overhead….well wide.
55′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Motherwell sub, Grant off for Ainsworth.
54′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Johnson drills in a shot from a narrow angle which Samson opts to beat away to safety.
51′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Long deals with Slater’s 20 yard shot which bounced just in front of him.
46′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
There’s been a Killie sub, Barbour on for Johnston.
46′ | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Second half is underway.
HALF-TIME | 1-1 | #MFCvKFC
Scott McDonald curls home the free-kick to make it 1-1
44′ | 0-1 | #MFCvKFC
RED CARD: Westlake is sent off for a second booking. Two wild challenges on Johnson.
42′ | 0-1 | #MFCvKFC
Another ‘Well corner after McDonald’s shot is deflected wide. Laing fires the corner wide of the post.
39′ | 0-1 | #MFCvKFC
From the corner the ball breaks at the edge of the box, two Killie players run into each other and ref gives a foul.
39′ | 0-1 | #MFCvKFC
Grant forces another good save from Samson, this time it was a low shot which was heading for the bottom left corner.
35′ | 0-1 | #MFCvKFC
McDonald gets his head on the end of Johnson’s cross but again Samson is on hand to make s good save.
34′ | 0-1 | #MFCvKFC
Slater does well, cutting in from the left and drags his right footed shot just past the post from just inside the box.
27′ | 0-1 | #MFCvKFC
McManus gets a volley on the end of Grant’s corner but Pascali gets his body in the way of it.
26′ | 0-1 | #MFCvKFC
What a save from Samson to tip McDonald’d close range header over the bar!
22′ | 0-1 | #MFCvKFC
‘Well win a corner…McManus heads Grant’s delivery well over the bar.
20′ | 0-1 | #MFCvKFC
Goal, Obadeyi cuts in from the left and unleashes a shot into the top corner. 1-0 to Killie.
17′ | 0-0 | #MFCvKFC
Another shot on goal for Killie. This time it is straight at Long from Johnston.
12′ | 0-0 | #MFCvKFC
McDonald forces Samson into a good diving save with a shot from the edge of the box. Positive start.
9′ | 0-0 | #MFCvKFC
Magennis picks the ball up about 20 yards out and gets a left-footed shot away. Well wide in the end.
6′ | 0-0 | #MFCvKFC
Johnson booked for simulation as he went down in the box under a Samson challenge. Looked harsh?
3′ | 0-0 | #MFCvKFC
Killie win a corner, after a bit of panic it’s swept clear by Lasley.
2′ | 0-0 | #MFCvKFC
Erwin gets his head on Johnson’s drilled cross but it flies harmlessly wide of the post.
1′ | KICK-OFF | #MFCvKFC
Lasley and Johnson get the game underway.
Pre-match | #MFCvKFC
Both teams are out the tunnel. ‘Well in claret and amber, Killie in their usual blue and white stripes.
Pre-match | #MFCvKFC
Players just out doing their pre-match warm-ups. Just under 20 minutes to kick-off #COYW
Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough:
“Second half I thought we stopped doing the things that got us into good positions first half.
“It can be perceived that it can be easier against 10 men, but it’s only easy if you make it easy by moving the ball quicker and we didn’t second half. We made it difficult for ourselves.
“But first half was an excellent performance, we put it into areas that caused them problems, we put it into areas that were our strengths, wide areas.
“Marvin [Johnson] was putting in cross after cross, he tormented the full-back who eventually lost his head and got himself booked twice.
“We just needed that final belief to get on to the end of one of those balls, I don’t know how many chances we created but it was a lot and you expect to come away from it with a little bit more than what we did.”
“It’s a step in the right direction and it’s a point closer to where we want to be, but there’s a bit of frustration that we dominated the game and didn’t capitalise on it.”
Kilmarnock manager Gary Locke:
“I think you saw with the reaction of the Kilmarnock fans at the end, every one of them stayed and applauded the team off the pitch,” said Locke.
“They have certainly seen the effort and commitment from the players in blue and white, and if they’re happy then we’ll be happy as well.
“Again, enormous credit to the players, the effort, the commitment, the desire not to get beat. I’m sitting here a really proud manager.”