Motherwell made it four games unbeaten with a 2-2 draw against Hibernian at Easter Road.
Despite going two goals down, a determined, hard-working ‘Well side never gave up and left Easter Road somewhat disappointed to have not come away with all three points.
Stephen Robinson named an unchanged eleven for the first competitive trip to Easter Road since March 2014, with young midfielder Allan Campbell keeping his place in the team following an impressive display against Kilmarnock. The youngster more than justified his managers decision on an afternoon full of positives for the ‘Well.
The two sides went in to the match in differing form, with the Steelmen recording three wins in their last three games, whilst Lennon’s side hadn’t managed to notch three points since their win over Rangers at Ibrox.
The game started in a frantic manner in Leith with a few strong challenges flying in in the opening exchanges.
Simon Murray nearly opened the scoring after seven-minutes when a fizzed cross from John McGinn was tapped narrowly wide of the mark by the forward.
But it was penalty claims and controversial decisions which dominated the half time discussions in the stands.
What looked like a clear penalty for the home side was waved away by referee Barry Cook, when Anthony Stokes tumbled in the area following a challenge from Carl McHugh.
The home supporters can probably feel more than fortunate though as the Steelmen were denied a clear penalty too when Richard Tait got his foot to the ball but was tripped – resulting in the official booking the full back for simulation.
Five-minutes later though, things got better for Neil Lennon’s side when they were awarded a spot-kick following a very soft incident between Charles Dunne and Martin Boyle.
Anthony Stokes made no mistake – finishing cheekily past Trevor Carson.
The Steelmen responded excellently though, and should have been level just two minutes after falling behind.
Clever movement from a corner kick offered Moult a golden chance at the back post to head the visitors level, but he uncharacteristically fluffed his lines – heading over the bar.
The centre-forward, who more than made up for his miss, nearly got on the scoresheet immediately when his strike rattled off the underside of the cross bar, but Hibs managed to get the ball clear.
Strike partner Ryan Bowman then could have levelled – but the in-form Englishman miscued his effort after a neat cut-back from Chris Cadden.
Despite starting the second half on the front foot, Hibs doubled their advantage and Stokes got his second of the afternoon, finishing high past Carson when the ball fell kindly for him in the box.
Robinson wasted no time in changing things, replacing the tireless Andy Rose for the creative Craig Tanner, and it proved to be an inspired substitution.
The midfielder was only on the park for three minutes when his inch-perfect free kick was nodded home by Moult – who made it four goals in four games as the Fir Parkers looked to get something from the game.
Just four minutes later, the midfielder nearly created the leveller when he did terrifically well to cut back for Bowman, whose goal bound effort was blocked.
Another change brought about another goal for the ‘Well – who have now scored in every game this season – when Gaël Bigirimana entered the fray in the 70th minute.
And in the 72nd, Motherwell were level.
The Burundian fed the ball in to the feet of Moult on the edge of the box, and the forward sent a fizzing, low effort past the helpless Marciano for his 7th of the season.
The final ten minutes certainly weren’t dull, and Paul Hanlon was involved in two incidents in quick succession that could have changed the result in Edinburgh.
The centre-back thundered Tanner to the deck with virtually a clothesline, forcing the medical staff to give the Englishman treatment, but Hanlon walked away without punishment.
Then, there were some claims for a handball when the defender slid to the deck in the box and may have touched the ball with his hand.
Stokes sent a free kick narrowly over the bar but neither side could find a winner and Motherwell, who remain above Hibs in the Ladbrokes Premiership, find themselves just a point off third place after six games.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Easter road
FT: Hibernian 2 – 2 Motherwell
There will be four minutes added on.
90′ | 2-2
Motherwell sub, Grimshaw on for Bowman
89′ | 2-2
Hibs have a free-kick about 25 yards out, Stokes to take…..just over the bar!
84′ | 2-2
Hibs sub, McGeough on for Bartley
In fact he’s changed his mind and gave a free-kick
83′ | 2-2
Tanner on the receiving end of a clothesline from Hanlon but ref sees nothing in it.
78′ | 2-2
Claims for a handball there! Certainly looked like it as Hanlon slipped and knocked the ball away with his hand?!
73′ | 2-2
Motherwell deservedly back level here at Easter Road! What a strike from Moult!, low into the bottom corner!!
71′ | 2-1
Motherwell sub, Bigirimana on for McHugh
70′ | 2-1
Straight away Slivka is booked for leaving an elbow on McHugh as they went for a header.
69′ | 2-1
Hibs sub, Slivka on for Boyle
65′ | 2-1
Hibs sub, Murray off for Matulevicius
64′ | 2-1
Great chance! Tanner cuts it back to Bowman 8 yards out but the Hibs defender blocks his goal-bound shot!
63′ | 2-1
GOAL!! Tanner’s free-kick is knocked in by Moult! Come on!
60′ | 2-0
Motherwell sub, Rose off for Tanner
56′ | 2-0
Goal – Stokes makes it 2-0 , firing into the top corner from 12 yards
54′ | 1-0
Moult collects the ball on the edge of the box and tries a curler but it’s a routine stop for Marciano
49′ | 1-0
McHugh clips a nice little ball over the top to Tait whose header hits the top side of the bar but the linesman’s flag is up
HT: Hibernian 1 – 0 Motherwell
42′ | 1-0
Decent chance there as Campbell’s shot from 20 yards is deflected by McHugh but Marciano reacts and makes the save
36′ | 1-0
McHugh is booked for a challenge in the middle of the park on McGinn
32′ | 1-0
Corner is swung in by Cadden but is evades Moult at the back post and goes out for a goal kick.
25′ | 1-0
Off the bar! Rose slides the ball across goal and finds Moult, whose shot rattles off the woodwork
23′ | 1-0
Chance! Corner is played in deep to Moult but he heads well over the bar!
22′ | 1-0
Moult breaks away and tries to pick out Bowman but his cross is knocked wide for a corner.
21′ | 1-0
Goal – Stoke slots the ball past Carson from the spot.
20′ | 0-0
Penalty to Hibs…..
17′ | 0-0
Kipre with a through-ball to Campbell but he can’t find a man, with little options to be fair.
15′ | 0-0
Tait is booked for simulation inside the box.
11′ | 0-0
Strong penalty claims there for Hibs as Stokes goes down in the box but referee waves the claims away
7′ | 0-0
Close! McGinn puts in a low ball to the front post which Murray taps inches wide
6′ | 0-0
Corner to Hibs after Kipré knocks a cross wide. From the delivery, Dunne hooks clear.
1′ | 0-0
Half chance for ‘Well! Free-kick is played deep into the HIbs box but it doesn’t quite fall for Moult
Hibs get the game underway. COYW!!
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson:
Hibernian manager Neil Lennon