A fantastic, positive and disciplined performance earned Motherwell a point at Ibrox this afternoon.
Such was the performance and domination from the Steelmen, though, it really was a case of two points dropped.
Suffice to say that after Joe Garner’s equaliser to cancel out Louis Moult’s third minute opener, Rangers’ ‘keeper Wes Foderingham earned his ‘Man of the Match’ tag with a series of stunning saves to deny ‘Well a thoroughly deserved win.
For his first visit to Ibrox as Motherwell manager, Stephen Robinson named a very attack minded line-up. His bold intentions of having a front two of Louis Moult and Ryan Bowman, backed by Scott McDonald, and supported with a strong running midfield, was rewarded with a third minute goal and a commanding overall performance from his men.
Elliott Frear, who posed a real threat on the left, carried the ball 70 yards to win a corner. And when Chris Cadden curled the ball into the six-yard area, Moult powerfully headed the ball home with Foderingham only able to palm it into the roof of the net.
That stunned the Ibrox side and crowd – but rather than sit back and face a reaction, Motherwell continued to take the game towards the home goal.
Ryan Bowman, who tormented the ‘Gers back four, won a free kick at the edge of the box and Frear’s cross caused more panic in the home box. A couple of Cadden corners maintained the pressure.
‘Well were in total control at this stage and Scott McDonald won the ball on the byline before finding Moult, who although off balance, managed to send his header just wide.
With a disciplined formation of two banks of five players across their own half, Craig Samson was virtually a spectator until Rangers’ first threat after 21 minutes.
A through ball from Jon Toral sent Martyn Waghorn towards goal but after rounding the grounded Samson, the Gers’ striker fell to the deck, only to receive a yellow card for his theatrical tumble.
That aside, all the action was at the other end and Moult and McDonald combined to send Cadden to the byline whose low ball across the face of the goal found no takers.
The first half ended with Motherwell still pressing for a second goal they deserved and three minutes from the break Bowman’s tenacity earned another free kick at the corner of the box. With Frear shaping to cross the ball, Moult elected to drive for goal and into a packed defence, but Rangers managed to turn it away from danger.
The new Rangers’ boss made wholesale changes at the break with three substitutions which initially raised home spirits. However, Robinson was also forced into an early change when Keith Lasley replaced Craig Clay who had taken a knock late in the first half.
The change didn’t affect ‘Well though, and when Hammell sent Frear racing down the left his low cross for Bowman was cut out by Rob Kiernan in his six yard box. From the resultant corner, Cadden’s delivery picked out McHugh and his downward header forced Foderingham to save at the foot of his post.
Rangers, with Garner now spearheading their attack, began to threaten and after 57 minutes only a goal line clearance from Ben Heneghan denied the Ibrox striker. Minutes later, Garner’s header was brilliantly palmed away by Samson at full stretch.
The game was end to end and after cutting into the box, Frear set up Lasley but he sliced his shot wide of goal.
It was third time lucky for Garner on the hour mark as Rangers levelled. Kenny Miller’s cross drifted over Samson and from an impossible angle the striker squeezed the ball home on the volley.
However, the goal failed to dampen ‘Well’s spirits and in an amazing seven minute spell Foderingham produced a series of stunning saves to deny the Fir Parkers.
Just two minutes after the equaliser, ‘Well looked to have regained the lead. Moult set up Bowman and his low shot was curling inside the post until Foderingham stretched to push it away. Moult reacted first to slam the ball beyond the ‘keeper and into the net off Stephen Pearson’s foot, but the celebrations were cut short due to an offside flag.
Moult was again the provider when his cross found Bowman and his header seemed goal bound until the striker was again denied as Foderingham threw himself fully to the right to beat the ball away.
The Rangers’ ‘keeper bettered that in the 68th minute with an incredible double save. Having blocked Moult’s volley from close range Foderingham somehow recovered to palm away McDonald’s header which looked certain for the top corner of the net.
Tiring through their efforts to relentlessly press the Gers’ defence, Bowman and Moult took a well earned break with Jacob Blyth and Lionel Ainsworth coming on to maintain the pursuit for a winner.
And while Rangers chased a last minute winner against ‘Well for the third time this season, the visitors came closest to claiming all three points in injury time. McDonald might have considered running down the clock but instead he headed for goal before unleashing a dipping angled drive which Foderingham again matched diving to push the ball round the post and leave the sides level.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Ibrox
What a shift. But for a couple of great Foderingham saves the Steelmen would have been travelling home with all three points.
FT: Rangers 1 – 1 Motherwell #RFCvMFC
90+2′ | 1-1
Hyndman should burst the net but fires well over from 6 yards!!
Three minutes added on…
Moult looks like he is struggling with an injury.
79′ | 1-1
Motherwell sub, Ainsworth on for Moult.
75′ | 1-1
Motherwell sub, Blyth on for Bowman
69′ | 1-1
Another great chance. Cadden slides in a front post ball but Kiernan gets a touch on the ball to clear from Bowman!
68′ | 1-1
Quite incredible that ‘Well aren’t back in the lead. Foderingham denies Moult then somehow gets a hand to McDonald’s header!
65′ | 1-1
Foderingham makes a great save to deny Bowman from close range!!
63′ | 1-1
‘Well have the ball in the net but a very late flag goes up after consultation with the ref. Will need to see again.
61′ | 1-1
Goal – Rangers are back level. Miller with a deep ball in which Garner somehow turns into the net.
57′ | 0-1
Good save! Samson does well to deny Garner’s close range header!
54′ | 0-1
Hyndman looked certain to score, getting on the end of a Miller nod down but he fails to make contact and the chance goes.
51′ | 0-1
Hammell slides Frear in down the left and his ball across goal is put out for a corner by Kiernan
49′ | 0-1
Motherwell sub, Lasley on for Clay
46′ | 0-1
Hyndman gets into the box but McHugh is on hand to deflect his shot over the bar.
Both teams out for the second 45, with Rangers making three changes, Halliday and O’Halloran & Garner on for Wallace, Hodson and Hill
HT: Rangers 0 – 1 Motherwell #RFCvMFC
42′ | 0-1
Toral booked. Tried a backheel from his own byline, straight to Bowman who he then hauled down.
39′ | 0-1
Moult fires over the bar from 25 yards with Clay as a decent option to slide in.
38′ | 0-1
Waghorn goes close, getting on the end of McKay’s cut-back but his shot fizzes wide.
30′ | 0-1
Pearson booked for a clumsy looking foul on Wallace
26′ | 0-1
McDonald gets the break of the ball 30 yards out and opts to take on the shot but it flies well over.
24′ | 0-1
Close! Well worked move sets Cadden free and his cross fires across goal with no takers.
21′ | 0-1
Waghorn booked for a clear dive in the box. Was down before Samson was even near him.
20′ | 0-1
McDonald spins on the touchline and swings in a good ball to Moult but its a fraction high and he heads wide.
16′ | 0-1
McDonald wins a corner on the left hand side….Cadden whips it in to the backpost where it is headed out for another corner.
11′ | 0-1
Hammell puts a deep free-kick into the box but Moult’s flick-on is too heavy for Bowman and runs out of play
…Frear clips it in but when the ball eventually falls for McDonald he is flagged offside.
6′ | 0-1
Bowman and Moult combine down the left which forces Hodson to haul Bowman down. Free kick wide on the left…
3′ | 0-1
The Steelmen take the lead! Frear whips it in the the head of Moult who is unmarked and bullets it home!!
2′ | 0-0
Positive run from Frear down the left wins a corner for ‘Well…
McDonald gets the game underway. COYW!!!!
Out come the two sides at a sunny Ibrox, usual colours for both.
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson:
Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha: