Phil McGhee Fir Park
Motherwell recorded their biggest win over Hamilton in 35 years to continue the recent run of improved form.
If Friday morning in Lanarkshire was spent in hopeful pursuit of a solar eclipse, the evening was more productive for Motherwell fans as they watched the Fir Parkers record their most emphatic result and performance of the season against their county rivals.
In a fabulous second half, two goals inside a minute at the start from Lionel Ainsworth set Motherwell up for three points,with John Sutton coming off the bench to grab himself a brace in the final 10 minutes.
Ian Brraclough’s decision to recall Lionel Ainsworth for his first start in eight games was fully justified in the end with the winger’s two goals and overall contribution fully meriting him the man of the match.
But the confidence and desire throughout the Fir Park side augurs well for the remaining eight games and the fight to move clear of the bottom.
In a promising and positive opening spell from the home side, the Accies goal was put under immediate pressure. And inside three minutes a free kick 20 yards from goal provided the first chance. Josh Law managed to get his effort over the wall but the ball bounced tamely into Michael McGovern’s arms.
A swift break from Hamilton ended with Grant Gillespie curling a shot over George Long’s was a reminder why ‘Well had conceded nine league goals to Accies this season.
After a couple of long range efforts from the visitors, though, Motherwell took control and came close to a goal after 18 minutes. Marvin Johnson fed the ball to Scott McDonald but his inviting cross across goal found no takers before the ball drifted narrowly beyond the post.
After that the Accies goal came under a series of attacks that should have brought the opening goal.
Firstly, a blistering run from Ainsworth propelled the winger into the box but his finishing shot was straight at the ‘keeper. Two minutes later Lee Erwin latched onto a loose ball in the box and after his first shot was blocked the striker was grounded by Michael Devlin at the corner of the six yard box, amid appeals for a penalty, not given by Calum Murray.
A few minutes later it was Johnson’s turn to demonstrate his pace on the other wing, haring into the box before sweeping the ball into the six yard box but as Erwin waited to tap the ball home, Jesus Garcia Tena slid in to get a crucial touch to divert the ball beyond the ‘Well striker and the post.
It was an open game, though, and on the half hour mark Dougie Imrie came within a few inches of an opener with a terrific swerving volley which clipped the outside of the post.
It took ‘Well only three minutes into the second half to finally make the breakthrough. Stephen Pearson was fouled 40 yards from goal and the quick thinking Keith Lasley rolled the ball in front of Ainsworth who took one touch before unleashing a ferocious strike high into the net.
Before the home fans could fully celebrate ‘Well doubled their lead. Johnson’s pace and cross from the left exposed the Accies defence and although Erwin failled to make contact in front of goal, Ainsworth arrived at the back of the six yard box to lash the ball high past McGovern to make it 2-0.
Accies efforts to get back into the game and end their miserable run of eleven games without a win were hindered when Darren Lyon was shown a straight red card for a lunging challenge on Johnson.
As ten man Hamilton chased a goal, ‘Well and Ainsworth should have added to their tally.
A terrific pass from McDonald sent Ainsworth racing clear but his angled drive slipped past the advancing ‘keeper and the post.
That was McDonald’s last piece of action making way for John Sutton who took only two minutes before nodding Ainworth’s delightful cross into net from two yards.
Sutton then grabbed his second from the penalty spot when Ziggy Gordon tripped Erwin inside the box as Motherwell fully avenged their two heavy defeats from Accies this season and left the fans looking forward to a weekend.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
FULL TIME’ | 4-0 | #MFCvHAFC
90′ | 4-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Very nearly 5 but McGovern gets enough on Erwin’s close-range shot to get it away for a corner.
85′ | 4-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Motherwell sub, Dom Thomas is on for Johnson
Incidentally, in between making graphics for quick-fire goals, Ainsworth was subbed off for Moore.
83′ | 4-0 | #MFCvHAFC
It’s 4!!!! Sutton slots home from the spot to pile on the misery for Accies!!!
80′ | 3-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Ainsworth clips the ball across goal who nods home from close range. 3-0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
77′ | 2-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Motherwell sub, Sutton on for McDonald.
75′ | 2-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Almost the Ainsworth hat-trick as he broke away but dragged his shot agonisingly past the post.
74′ | 2-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Hamilton Accies sub, Longridge on for Redmond.
71′ | 2-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Another good chance for Hasselbaink as he gets on the end of MacDonald’s cross. Gets it all wrong and shoots wide.
66′ | 2-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Hasselbaink almost makes an instant impact as his tame looking shot almost deceived Long. Thankfully it went just past
65′ | 2-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Hamilton Accies sub, Scotland off for Hasselbaink.
64′ | 2-0 | #MFCvHAFC
RED CARD!! Lyon is sent off for a terrible challenge on Johnson!!
63′ | 2-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Garcia Tena booked for a lazy challenge on Erwin.
60′ | 2-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Great tracking back from Pearson to snuff out the danger from Imrie allowing Long to easily gather the tame cross
53′ | 2-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Almost a hat-trick for Ainsworth!! McGovern just does enough to claw his top corner-bound shot then clear from Erwin
49′ | 2-0 | #MFCvHAFC
…from the restart, Johnson gets a great cross in and he fires home from a tight angle!!! 2-0!!!
49′ | 2-0 | #MFCvHAFC
A blistering minute from Ainsworth! Rattles on intot the top corner from 25 yards then…
Second Half | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Lasley and Johnson get the second half underway.
Half Time’ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Stalemate at Fir Park as the first half ends Motherwell 0 – 0 Hamilton Accies
44′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Hearts in mouths as Law tried to clear from Scotland but almost curled it into his own net :O
35′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Yet another ‘Well corner..cleared and Accies counter. ‘Well recover and Straker makes the clearance.
34′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
McDonald’s free-kick is fired straight into the wall.
34′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Free-kick for ‘Well, in a similar position to where McDonald scored from against Killie.
30′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Ooft. Would have been a stunner from Imrie but his volley from 20 yards hits the outside of the post.
28′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Irmie is booked for a wild looking challenge on Keith Lasley.
27′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Glorious chance for Erwin as Johnson crosses to him but Tena gets a vital touch to it and clears for a corner
25′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Erwin has a great first touch in the box and looked to have been fouled by the defender. Ref has a good look, says no
24′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Another ‘Well corner. This time McManus gets a head to Ainsworth’s delivery but Gordon takes the sting out it.
23′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Ainsworth bursts though the Accies defence but can’t get enough direction on his shot to trouble McGovern.
19′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
McDonald gets a sniff of goal after being played in by Johnson. From the angle, his cross/shot is just wide.
17′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
McManus’ clearance falls at the feet of Crawford who again shoots over the bar, this time with a curled effort.
15′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Action has slowed down a little. Crawford is forced to shoot from range and watches it sail well over the bar.
10′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Crawford gets the break of the ball in midfield and plays in Gillespie who fires over the bar from 18 yards.
7′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Space opens up for Gordon on the right wing and as he cuts in, Lasley has to make the tackle and clear the danger
5′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Corner to Motherwell, Devlin gets to the delivery ahead of McManus and McGovern gathers.
3′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Free-kick to ‘Well about 25 yards out….Law strikes it but it is straight at McGovern, bouncing just in front of him.
2′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Early chance for Accies as Crawford picks the ball up deep and drives forward.Gets a shot away but it’s simple for Long
1′ | 0-0 | #MFCvHAFC
Gillespie and Scotland get the game underway #COYW!!!!
Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough:
“It feels nice. It feels like we’ve got something for the amount of work we put in.
“The players have gone and given it absolutely everything every day and we don’t leave anything to chance, the lads have been switched on and it’s reward for them.
“If you look at the two goal scorers they’ve been disappointed, they’ve not been involved all the time. They’ve both gone and played their part tonight in a very big way and that shows you that everyone is pulling in the right direction.
“We’ve put in a performance that has probably made people stand up and take note and we go into the weekend with a smile on our faces. We can let the other teams see if they can now reply.”
Hamilton manager Martin Canning:
“In the first half there wasn’t much between us, but in the second half we’ve switched off, made individual mistakes, and it’s cost us.
“In the second half everything that could go wrong went wrong. We tried to make the changes to get ourselves back in the game and I thought we still had a couple of opportunities at the other end, but it wasn’t to be on the day.
“All I can do is continue to work hard, and the players and staff will do the same. We’re confident we can turn it around.
“We have lost key personnel but that excuse has got to stop now. The boys in the dressing room have got to take responsibility and stand up.”