Motherwell slumped to a heavy 7-2 defeat away to Aberdeen in the Ladbrokes Premiership tonight.
An extremely poor first half left the Steelmen with a four goal deficit to overcome, with Ryan Bowman’s header and Stephen Pearson’s volley in the second half acting as mere consolations on a terrible night up north.
Mark McGhee named three changes to the side that lost to Hearts at Fir Park, bringing in Stephen Pearson and Lee Lucas, as well as handing a full debut to January signing Elliott Frear – with Zak Jules and Lionel Ainsworth dropped to the bench and Carl McHugh missing through suspension.
But it was a disastrous start for the Steelmen, who found themselves one down inside two minutes.
Jonny Hayes, fresh off the back of penning a contract extension, was afforded far too much time as the ball broke to him in the box, and the Dons number eleven laced a powerful low shot through a crowded six yard box and past Craig Samson.
Motherwell did settle for the ten minutes that followed, but failed to create much going forward and were limited to a handful of corners.
Elliott Frear swung some good balls in to the area, but Aberdeen stood strong to clear any potential danger.
The deficit remained at just one until the 31st minute, and the fifteen minutes which followed left McGhee’s side with virtually no hope of taking away much from the game.
Andrew Considine finished off a fine corner for the home side from an in swinging delivery to double the home side’s advantage, before a calamitous bit of defending lead to a tap in for Adam Rooney.
Ryan Christie capped a strong first half for the Reds with a stabbed finish from outside the box in to the far top corner and Alan Muir’s half time whistle was simply relief for Motherwell.
In truth, the glaring difference had been the pressure applied by Aberdeen all over the park. Lasley, Lucas and Pearson were afforded no time on the ball and McGhee’s men couldn’t settle in to the match .
The second half was slightly improved from a Motherwell perspective but Aberdeen still managed to add more goals.
An Adam Rooney penalty was followed by a header from the striker to put the hosts 6-0 up and secure his hattrick.
Mark McGhee was sent to the stands after an exchange with fourth official John McKendrick, but not before his half time change had made an impact on the game.
Ryan Bowman, introduced to the action in place of Lee Lucas, grabbed a consolation when he headed home from a freekick, before Stephen Pearson made it 6-2 with a volley following a flick on from a corner.
Peter Pawlett made it seven to wrap up the three points and condemn the Steelmen to a terrible defeat, who face Celtic next on Saturday.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Pittodrie
FT: Aberdeen 7 – 2 Motherwell #AFCvMFC
83′ | 7-2
Goal – Aberdeen break straight away and Pawlett finishes past Samson.
81′ | 6-2
Bowman does well down the left and forces a corner….Goal! Pearson knock home at the backpost.
79′ | 6-1
Aberdeen sub, Storey on for Christie
76′ | 6-1
Samson with a superb save to deny McLean from close range
75′ | 6-1
Good effort from Bowman, coming in off the right and seeing his shot fly inches over the bar.
74′ | 6-1
Goal – Bowman heads in from a free-kick. 6-1.
72′ | 6-0
And another sub, McGinn off for Pawlett.
71′ | 6-0
Aberdeen sub, Rooney off for Stockley
69′ | 6-0
Goal- It’s 6. Rooney heads home from a corner.
66′ | 5-0
Motherwell sub, Clay on for Frear
64′ | 5-0
Goal – Rooney sends Samson the wrong way.
63′ | 4-0
Penalty to Aberdeen…
58′ | 4-0
Taylor booked for a trip on Bowman as he broke clear.
50′ | 4-0
Considine booked for handball wide on the ‘Well right. Free-kick hooked in but easily gathered by Lewis.
Lasley gets the second 45 underway.
Half time sub for ‘Well, Lucas off for Bowman.
HT: Aberdeen 4 – 0 Motherwell #AFCvMFC
40′ | 4-0
Goal – Aberdeen work a short corner which finds Christie and he finds the top corner with the outside of his boot.
34′ | 3-0
Goal – It’s three nil. ‘Well defence fail to clear and that leaves Rooney with plenty of space 6 yards out to score.
32′ | 2-0
Goal – Corner is whipped into the back post where Considine has plenty of space to nod home.
30′ | 1-0
Lucas booked for hauling down Jack inside the Motherwell half.
25′ | 1-0
Ambitious chip from Moult about 25 yards out doesn’t come off, sailing well over the bar.
21′ | 1-0
McManus does well to dispossess Hayes but it falls kindly to Christie whose first time shot curls over the bar.
19′ | 1-0
Dons get the break of the ball which sets Hayes free down the right but thankfully his cross slices wide of the post.
13′ | 1-0
Chance for Rooney as he goes for the spectacular overhead-kick 10 yards out but gets it all wrong and it’s wide of the post.
7′ | 1-0
Cadden gets down the right and clips in a ball which just misses Frear at the back post.
5′ | 1-0
‘Well have a free-kick wide on the right which Lucas whips in but its headed clear for a corner.
2′ | 1-0
Goal – Aberdeen open the scoring straight away. Ball breaks the way of Hayes inside the box and he fires it past Samson.
Aberdeen get the action underway. COYW!!!
Out come both teams, full red for Aberdeeen, full white for the Steelmen. #AFCvMFC
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: